Historians of Africa, trained as area specialists, often write primarily for one another in specialized discourse difficult for outsiders to comprehend. Teachers and scholars of history—even the best-intentioned—often approach Africa in naïve terms that have the effect of reinforcing the very exoticism that they intend to overcome by incorporating the continent in their work and teaching.
Our objective in this series is to produce accessibly written books by African specialists for audiences who know very little about Africa. The books examine issues that arise for nonspecialists as they seek to include Africa in their teaching of other regions of world history. Books in the series draw attention to the parallels in human experience in Africa and in other parts of the world and present local documentation—oral, cultural, and written—where available.
Intended for undergraduate survey courses, the volumes in the Africa in World History series speak to current (and future) images of Africa in the popular culture and in educated, but nonspecialist, circles. Volumes on some topic areas within the Africanist field will be of use among specialists, for undergraduate instruction, and for graduate teaching.
Todd Cleveland, University of Arkansas
Joseph C. Miller, University of Virginia
David Robinson, Michigan State University
In Converging on Cannibals, Jared Staller demonstrates that one of the most terrifying discourses used during the era of transatlantic slaving—cannibalism—was co-produced by Europeans and Africans. When these people from vastly different cultures first came into contact, they shared a fear of potential cannibals. Some Africans and European slavers allowed these rumors of themselves as man-eaters to stand unchallenged.
A new era in world history began when Atlantic maritime trade among Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas opened up in the fifteenth century, setting the stage for massive economic and cultural change. In Making Money, Colleen Kriger examines the influence of the global trade on the Upper Guinea Coast two hundred years later—a place and time whose study, in her hands, imparts profound insights into Anglo-African commerce and its wider milieu.
A story with the power to change how people view the last years of colonialism in East Africa, The Boy Is Gone portrays the struggle for Kenyan independence in the words of a freedom fighter whose life spanned the twentieth century's most dramatic transformations. Born into an impoverished farm family in the Meru Highlands, Japhlet Thambu grew up wearing goatskins and lived to stand before his community dressed for business in a pressed suit, crisp tie, and freshly polished shoes.
Swahili was once an obscure dialect of an East African Bantu language. Today more than one hundred million people use it: Swahili is to eastern and central Africa what English is to the world. From its embrace in the 1960s by the black freedom movement in the United States to its adoption in 2004 as the African Union’s official language, Swahili has become a truly international language.
From Accra and Algiers to Zanzibar and Zululand, Africans have wrested control of soccer from the hands of Europeans, and through the rise of different playing styles, the rituals of spectatorship, and the presence of magicians and healers, have turned soccer into a distinctively African activity. African Soccerscapes explores how Africans adopted soccer for their own reasons and on their own terms.
Africa's art of cooking is a key part of its history. All too often Africa is associated with famine, but in Stirring the Pot, James C. McCann describes how the ingredients, the practices, and the varied tastes of African cuisine comprise a body of historically gendered knowledge practiced and perfected in households across diverse human and ecological landscape.