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New African Histories

Cover of 'An Uncertain Age'

An Uncertain Age
The Politics of Manhood in Kenya
By Paul Ocobock

In twentieth-century Kenya, age and gender were powerful cultural and political forces that animated household and generational relationships. They also shaped East Africans’ contact with and influence on emergent colonial and global ideas about age and masculinity. Kenyan men and boys came of age achieving their manhood through changing rites of passage and access to new outlets such as town life, crime, anticolonial violence, and nationalism.

African History · Gender Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization · African Studies · Eastern Africa · Kenya

Cover of 'African Miracle, African Mirage'

African Miracle, African Mirage
Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast
By Abou B. Bamba

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ivory Coast was touted as an African miracle, a poster child for modernization and the ways that Western aid and multinational corporations would develop the continent. At the same time, Marxist scholars—most notably Samir Amin—described the capitalist activity in Ivory Coast as empty, unsustainable, and incapable of bringing real change to the lives of ordinary people.

African History · Economic Policy · Colonialism and Decolonization · African Studies · Cote d'Ivoire

Cover of 'The Art of Life in South Africa'

The Art of Life in South Africa
By Daniel Magaziner

From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station.

African History · Art History · Colonialism and Decolonization · African Studies · Apartheid · Art Education · South Africa · African Art

Cover of 'Cartography and the Political Imagination'

Cartography and the Political Imagination
Mapping Community in Colonial Kenya
By Julie MacArthur

Encompassing history, geography, and political science, MacArthur’s study evaluates the role of geographic imagination and the impact of cartography not only as means of expressing imperial power and constraining colonized populations, but as tools for the articulation of new political communities and resistance.

African History · Human Geography · Colonialism and Decolonization · Kenya · African Studies · Race and Ethnicity

Cover of 'Nation on Board'

Nation on Board
Becoming Nigerian at Sea
By Lynn Schler

Schler’s study of Nigerian seamen during Nigeria’s transition to independence provides a fresh perspective on the meaning of decolonization for ordinary Africans. She traces the workers’ shift from optimism to disillusionment, providing a working-class perspective on nation building in Nigeria and illustrating the hopes for independence and subsequent disappointments.

African History · Labor History · Colonialism and Decolonization · Maritime History · African Studies · Nigeria

Cover of 'The Gun in Central Africa'

The Gun in Central Africa
A History of Technology and Politics
By Giacomo Macola

Examining the history of warfare and political development through a technological lens, Macola relates the study of military technology to the history of gender. A lively analysis of the social forms and political systems of central Africa, this work focuses on the question of why some societies embraced the gun while others didn’t, and how the technology shaped them in the precolonial years.

Social History · History of Technology · African History · African Studies · Central Africa

Cover of 'Authentically African'

Authentically African
Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture
By Sarah Van Beurden

Together, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, and the Institut des Musées Nationaux du Zaire (IMNZ) in the Congo have defined and marketed Congolese art and culture. In Authentically African, Sarah Van Beurden traces the relationship between the possession, definition, and display of art and the construction of cultural authenticity and political legitimacy from the late colonial until the postcolonial era.

African History · Museum Studies · African Art · African Studies · Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cover of 'Crossing the Color Line'

Crossing the Color Line
Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana
By Carina E. Ray

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Ghanaians shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its hierarchies of power.

African History · Women’s Studies · Race and Ethnicity · African Studies · Ghana · United Kingdom

Cover of 'Diamonds in the Rough'

Diamonds in the Rough
Corporate Paternalism and African Professionalism on the Mines of Colonial Angola, 1917–1975
By Todd Cleveland

Diamonds in the Rough explores the lives of African laborers on Angola’s diamond mines from the commencement of operations in 1917 to the colony’s independence from Portugal in 1975. The mines were owned and operated by the Diamond Company of Angola, or Diamang, which enjoyed exclusive mining and labor concessions granted by the colonial government. Through these monopolies, the company became the most profitable enterprise in Portugal’s African empire.

African History · Labor History · African Studies · Angola

Cover of 'States of Marriage'

States of Marriage
Gender, Justice, and Rights in Colonial Mali
By Emily S. Burrill

States of Marriage shows how throughout the colonial period in French Sudan (present-day Mali) the institution of marriage played a central role in how the empire defined its colonial subjects as gendered persons with certain attendant rights and privileges. The book is a modern history of the ideological debates surrounding the meaning of marriage, as well as the associated legal and sociopolitical practices in colonial and postcolonial Mali.

Gender Studies · African History · History · Mali · African Studies

Cover of 'Who Shall Enter Paradise?'

Who Shall Enter Paradise?
Christian Origins in Muslim Northern Nigeria, c. 1890–1975
By Shobana Shankar

Who Shall Enter Paradise? recounts in detail the history of Christian-Muslim engagement in a core area of sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, home to roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. It is a region today beset by religious violence, in the course of which history has often been told in overly simplified or highly partisan terms.

African History · Islam · Nigeria · African Studies · Christianity

Cover of 'In Idi Amin’s Shadow'

In Idi Amin’s Shadow
Women, Gender, and Militarism in Uganda
By Alicia C. Decker

In Idi Amin’s Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan women’s complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amin’s militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women.

African History · Gender Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization · Uganda · African Studies

Cover of 'Making Modern Girls'

Making Modern Girls
A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos
By Abosede A. George

In Making Modern Girls, Abosede A. George examines the influence of African social reformers and the developmentalist colonial state on the practice and ideology of girlhood as well as its intersection with child labor in Lagos, Nigeria. It draws from gender studies, generational studies, labor history, and urban history to shed new light on the complex workings of African cities from the turn of the twentieth century through the nationalist era of the 1950s.

African History · Labor History · Women’s History · Women’s Studies · Children's Studies · Childhood · African Studies · Nigeria

Cover of 'Conjugal Rights'

Conjugal Rights
Marriage, Sexuality, and Urban Life in Colonial Libreville, Gabon
By Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Conjugal Rights is a history of the role of marriage and other arrangements between men and women in Libreville, Gabon, during the French colonial era, from the mid–nineteenth century through 1960. Conventional historiography has depicted women as few in number and of limited influence in African colonial towns, but this book demonstrates that a sexual economy of emotional, social, legal, and physical relationships between men and women indelibly shaped urban life.

African History · Gender Studies · Gabon · African Studies

Cover of 'Violent Intermediaries'

Violent Intermediaries
African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa
By Michelle R. Moyd

The askari, African soldiers recruited in the 1890s to fill the ranks of the German East African colonial army, occupy a unique space at the intersection of East African history, German colonial history, and military history.

African History · African Studies · History · Military History · Germany · Western Europe · Europe · Africa