Peasant Intellectuals will dramatically alter the perspective from which anthropologists, historians, and political scientists study both cultural systems and rural politics. Based on 25 years of research that includes interviews with hundreds of people from all social levels, Steven Feierman gives us the history of the struggles to define the most basic issues of public discourse in the Shambaa-speaking region of Tanzania. Over the past 150 years ruling chiefs and dissenting peasants have debated what it is that enables some regimes to bring life rather than death, prosperity rather than hunger, justice rather than inequity. Feierman focuses on the role of peasant intellectuals -- men and women who earn their living by farming and who, at crucial historical moments, have organized political movements of the greatest long-term significance. Peasant Intellectuals also demonstrates that peasant society contains a rich body of alternative sources of political language from which future debates can be shaped.