Research in International Studies, Africa Series
All books in the series are published in association with the Center for International Studies at Ohio University.
Gillian Berchowitz, Executive Editor
Research in International Studies
Ohio University Press
Why do female genital cutting practices persist? How does circumcision affect the rights of girls in a culture where initiation forms the lynchpin of the ritual cycle at the core of defining gender, identity, and social and political status? In Making the Mark, Miroslava Prazak follows the practice of female circumcision through the lives and activities of community members in a rural Kenyan farming society as they decide whether or not to participate in the tradition.
In the early and mid-1940s, during the period of British wartime occupation, community and religious leaders in the former Italian colony of Eritrea engaged in a course of intellectual and political debate that marked the beginnings of a genuine national consciousness across the region.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.
Decades after independence for most African states, the struggle for decolonization is still incomplete, as demonstrated by the fact that Africa remains associated in many Western minds with chaos, illness, and disorder. African and non-African scholars alike still struggle to establish the idea of African humanity, in all its diversity, and to move Africa beyond its historical role as the foil to the West.
Since 1999 and the death of King Hassan II, Morocco has experienced a dramatic social transformation. Encouraged by the more openly democratic climate fostered by young King Mohammed VI, filmmakers have begun to explore the sociocultural and political debates of their country while also seeking to document the untold stories of a dark past. Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society focuses on Moroccan films produced and distributed from 1999 to the present.
The Twelve Best Books by African Women is a collection of critical essays on eleven works of fiction and one play, an important but belated affirmation of women writers on the continent and a first step toward establishing a recognized canon of African women’s literature.
Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa examines the rural Cape Colony from the earliest days of Dutch colonial rule in the mid-seventeenth century to the outbreak of the South African War in 1899. For slaves and slave owners alike, incorporation into the British Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century brought fruits that were bittersweet.
The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba offers readers a selection of folktales infused with riddles, proverbs, songs, myths, and legends, using various narrative techniques that capture the vibrancy of Beba oral traditions. Makuchi retells the stories that she heard at home when she was growing up in her native Cameroon.
Africa is a marriage of cultures: African and Asian, Islamic and Euro-Christian. Nowhere is this fusion more evident than in the formation of Swahili, Eastern Africa’s lingua franca, and its cultures. Swahili beyond the Boundaries: Literature, Language, and Identity addresses the moving frontiers of Swahili literature under the impetus of new waves of globalization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The dark years of European fascism left their indelible mark on Africa. As late as the 1970s, Angola was still ruled by white autocrats, whose dictatorship was eventually overthrown by black nationalists who had never experienced either the rule of law or participatory democracy.
The concept of Colouredness—being neither white nor black—has been pivotal to the brand of racial thinking particular to South African society. The nature of Coloured identity and its heritage of oppression has always been a matter of intense political and ideological contestation. Not White Enough, Not Black Enough: Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community is the first systematic study of Coloured identity, its history, and its relevance to South African national life.
Even with a university education, the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their professional and personal potentials. Negotiating Power and Privilege is a study of their life choices and the embedded patriarchy and other obstacles in postcolonial Africa barring them from fulfillment. Philomina E. Okeke recorded life-history interviews and discussions during the 1990s with educated women of differing ages and professions.
Portugal was the first European nation to assert itself aggressively in African affairs. David Birmingham's Portugal and Africa, a collection of uniquely accessible historical essays, surveys this colonial encounter from its earliest roots.
The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. It describes HIV/AIDS in its macro context of the continent's democratization movements and in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.
In her startling collection of short stories, Broken Lives and Other Stories, Anthonia C. Kalu creates a series of memorable characters who struggle to hold displaced but dynamic communities together in a country that is at war with itself. Broken Lives and Other Stories presents a portrait of the ordinary women, children, and men whose lives have been battered by war in their homeland.
The Struggle for Meaning is a landmark publication by one of African philosophy's leading figures, Paulin J. Hountondji, best known for his critique of ethnophilosophy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this volume, he responds with autobiographical and philosophical reflection to the dialogue and controversy he has provoked.
Every European power in Africa made motion pictures for its subjects, but no state invested as heavily in these films, and expected as much from them, as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Flickering Shadows is the first book to explore this little-known world of colonial cinema.
Witchcraft Dialogues analyzes the complex manner in which human beings construct, experience, and think about the “occult.” It brings together anthropologists, philosophers, and sociologists, from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, to engage the metaphysical properties of “witchcraft” and “sorcery” and to explore their manifestations in people's lived experiences.
There is currently in Madagascar a rich literary production (short stories, poetry, novels, plays) that has not yet reached the United States for lack of diffusion outside the country. Until recently, Madagascar suffered from political isolation resulting from its breakup with France in the 1970s and the eighteen years of Marxism that followed.
South Africa's Resistance Press is a collection of essays celebrating the contributions of scores of newspapers, newsletters, and magazines that confronted the state in the generation after 1960. These publications contributed in no small measure to reviving a mass movement inside South Africa that would finally bring an end to apartheid.
Nigerian video films—dramatic features shot on video and sold as cassettes—are being produced at the rate of nearly one a day, making them the major contemporary art form in Nigeria. The history of African film offers no precedent for such a huge, popularly based industry. The contributors to this volume, who include film and television directors, an anthropologist, and scholars of film studies and literature, take a variety of approaches to this flourishing popular art.
The devastating influenza epidemic of 1918 ripped through southern Africa. In its aftermath, revivalist and millenarian movements sprouted. Prophets appeared bearing messages of resistance, redemption, and renewal. African Apocalypse: The Story of Nontetha Nkwenkwe, A Twentieth-Century Prophet is the remarkable story of one such prophet, a middle-aged Xhosa woman named Nontetha.
Between 1961 and 1978, Muslim Fula immigrants from different West African countries became one of the most successful mercantile groups in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. African Entrepreneurship, published by Ohio University Press on December 31, 1999, examines the commercial activities of Fula immigrants and their offspring in Sierra Leone.
Women's writing in Cameroon has so far been dominated by Francophone writers. The short stories in this collection represent the yearnings and vision of an Anglophone woman, who writes both as a Cameroonian and as a woman whose life has been shaped by the minority status her people occupy within the nation-state.
A Most Promising Weed examines the work experience, living conditions, and social relations of thousands of African men, women, and children on European-owned tobacco farms in colonial Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1945. Steven C. Rubert provides evidence that Africans were not passive in their responses to the penetration of European capitalism into Zimbabwe but, on the contrary, helped to shape both the work and living conditions they encountered as they entered wage employment.
The Moral Economy of the State examines state formation in Zimbabwe from the colonial period through the first decade of independence. Drawing on the works of Gramsci, E. P. Thompson, and James Scott, William Munro develops a theory of “moral economy” that explores negotiations between rural citizens and state agents over legitimate state incursions in social life.
On the night of Saturday, July 13, 1991, a mob of male students at the St. Kizito Mixed Secondary School in Meru, Kenya, attacked their female classmates in a dormitory. Nineteen schoolgirls were killed in the melee and more than 70 were raped or gang raped. The explanations in the press for the attack included a rebellion by male students over administrative mismanagement, academic stress, cultural norms for the Meru ethnic group, and victim characteristics (as assumed in rape myths).
In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics.
Katutura, located in Namibia’s major urban center and capital, Windhoek, was a township created by apartheid, and administered in the past by the most rigid machinery of the apartheid era. Namibia became a sovereign state in 1990, and Katutura reflects many of the changes that have taken place. No longer part of a rigidly bounded social system, people in Katutura today have the opportunity to enter and leave as their personal circumstances dictate.
This exceptional study of the Mongo people of the upper Congo River basin focuses on the evolution of Mongo work patterns from the period of the late nineteenth century to 1940, the high-water mark of the colonial period. It brings new evidence from oral histories, anthropological research, and archival records to build on or to correct colonial ethnographic accounts.