Edited by John Cooper-Poole (UK) and Marion Doro (USA)

SACRED TREES, BITTER HARVESTS – GLOBALIZING COFFEE IN N.W. TANZANIA. Brad Weiss. Greenwood Publishing Group, June 2003. ISBN p/b 0 325 070970 £15.99. h/b 0 325 070954 £36.99. pp216.

Brad Weiss explores the ethnography of coffee in Northwest Tanzania, weaving the story of its historical significance with the changing social political and economic processes taking place at the beginning of the twentieth century. While this book is surely an ethnography of coffee and coffee growing – its cultural, political as well as material significance – it also belongs in a whole line of literature exploring colonial encounters. In this case, the analysis is of local encounters between Haya communities and powerful outsiders – the White Fathers, coffee traders and others who act as supporters of change at the turn of the century. This is an anthropological monograph, a book as much about the Haya people themselves, about the relational elements of product practices frequently interpreted as simply ‘technical’ – the cultural, political as well as the material significance of coffee and coffee growing – as well as a study of political, social and economic processes – of power and how it is sustained and maintained. Continue reading