Themes in West Africa’s History

Edited by Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong

“This collection allows students to be exposed to major issues in West African history and to see how scholars from different disciplines as well as from different continents understand this history.... This is a highly useful book, both for undergraduates and graduate students, while providing valuable reflections on research methods and themes in West African history that are of value to Africanist scholars as well.”

International Journal of African Historical Studies

“The authoritative, up-to-date treatment of scholarship provides a valuable supplemental text.... Summing Up: Essential.”


“This edited volume is an exciting new West African history textbook that could be used effectively at both undergraduate and graduate levels.... Students will find the scholarship sophisticated but accessible, and admirably topical in the historical issues engaged.”

African Studies Review

There has long been a need for a new textbook on West Africa’s history. In Themes in West Africa’s History, editor Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and his contributors meet this need, examining key themes in West Africa's prehistory to the present through the lenses of their different disciplines.

The contents of the book comprise an introduction and thirteen chapters divided into three parts. Each chapter provides an overview of existing literature on major topics, as well as a short list of recommended reading, and breaks new ground through the incorporation of original research. The first part of the book examines paths to a West African past, including perspectives from archaeology, ecology and culture, linguistics, and oral traditions. Part two probes environment, society, and agency and historical change through essays on the slave trade, social inequality, religious interaction, poverty, disease, and urbanization. Part three sheds light on contemporary West Africa in exploring how economic and political developments have shaped religious expression and identity in significant ways.

Themes in West Africa’s History represents a range of intellectual views and interpretations from leading scholars on West Africa’s history. It will appeal to college undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in the way it draws on different disciplines and expertise to bring together key themes in West Africa's history, from prehistory to the present.

Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong is a professor of history at Harvard University and the Oppenheimer Faculty Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies. He is the author of Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana c. 1850 to Recent Times.

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In Series

Western African Studies

Related Subjects

African History · African Studies · Western Africa



Retail price: $29.95, S.
Release date: Jan. 2006
288 pages · 6.125 × 9½ in.
Rights:World (exclusive in Americas, and Philippines) except British Commonwealth, Continental Europe, and United Kingdom


Retail price: $49.95, S.
Release date: Jan. 2006
335 pages · 6.125 × 9½ in.
Rights:World (exclusive in Americas, and Philippines) except British Commonwealth, Continental Europe, and United Kingdom


Release date: Jan. 2006
≅ 288 pages
Rights: World