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Ohio University Press · Swallow Press · www.ohioswallow.com

African History

African History Book List

A 2017 Quartz Africa Book of the Year · Finalist, Melville J. Herskovits Prize
Cover of 'We Do Not Have Borders'

We Do Not Have Borders
Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya
By Keren Weitzberg

Though often associated with foreigners and refugees, many Somalis have lived in Kenya for generations, in many cases since long before the founding of the country. Despite their long residency, foreign and state officials and Kenyan citizens often perceive the Somali population to be a dangerous and alien presence in the country, and charges of civil and human rights abuses have mounted against them in recent years.In

Cover of 'The Riddle of Malnutrition'

The Riddle of Malnutrition
The Long Arc of Biomedical and Public Health Interventions in Uganda
By Jennifer Tappan

More than ten million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition globally each year. In Uganda, longstanding efforts to understand, treat, and then prevent the condition initially served to medicalize it, in the eyes of both biomedical personnel and Ugandans who brought their children to the hospital for treatment and care. Medicalization meant malnutrition came to be seen as a disease—as a medical emergency—not a preventable condition, further compromising nutritional health in Uganda.Rath

Cover of 'Julius Nyerere'

Julius Nyerere
By Paul Bjerk

With vision, hard-nosed judgment, and biting humor, Julius Nyerere confronted the challenges of nation building in modern Africa. Constructing Tanzania out of a controversial Cold War union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Nyerere emerged as one of independent Africa’s most influential leaders. He pursued his own brand of African socialism, called Ujamaa, with unquestioned integrity, and saw it profoundly influence movements to end white minority rule in Southern Africa.

Cover of 'Thabo Mbeki'

Thabo Mbeki
By Adekeye Adebajo

In this concise biography, ideally suited for the classroom, Adekeye Adebajo seeks to illuminate former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s contradictions and situate him in a pan-African pantheon.

Cover of 'Feeding Globalization'

Feeding Globalization
Madagascar and the Provisioning Trade, 1600–1800
By Jane Hooper

Between 1600 and 1800, the promise of fresh food attracted more than seven hundred English, French, and Dutch vessels to Madagascar. Throughout this period, European ships spent months at sea in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but until now scholars have not fully examined how crews were fed during these long voyages. Without sustenance from Madagascar, European traders would have struggled to transport silver to Asia and spices back to Europe.

Winner of the 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association · Finalist for the 2018 Bethwell A. Ogot Prize from the African Studies Association
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.

Cover of 'Promise and Despair'

Promise and Despair
The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa
By Martin Plaut

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way. In 1909, a remarkable interracial delegation of South Africans traveled to London to lobby for a non-racialized constitution and franchise for all. Among their allies was Mahatma Gandhi, who later encapsulated lessons from the experience in his most important book, Hind Swaraj. Though the mission failed, the London debates were critical to the formation of the African National Congress in 1912.With

Cover of 'Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions'

Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions
By Paul E. Lovejoy

In Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions, a preeminent historian of Africa argues that scholars of the Americas and the Atlantic world have not given Africa its due consideration as part of either the Atlantic world or the age of revolutions.

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.

Cover of 'South Sudan'

South Sudan
A New History for a New Nation
By Douglas H. Johnson

Africa’s newest nation has a long history. Often considered remote and isolated from the rest of Africa, and usually associated with the violence of slavery and civil war, South Sudan has been an arena for a complex mixing of peoples, languages, and beliefs. The nation’s diversity is both its strength and a challenge as its people attempt to overcome the legacy of decades of war to build a new economic, political, and national future.Most

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.

Cover of 'Modern Muslims'

Modern Muslims
A Sudan Memoir
By Steve Howard

Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Taha was a religious intellectual who participated in the early days of Sudan’s anticolonial struggle, but quickly turned his movement into a religious reform effort based on his radical reading of the Qur’an. He was executed in 1985 for apostasy.Deca

Cover of 'Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa'

Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa
Dialogues between Past and Present
Edited by Emma Hunter

Africa, it is often said, is suffering from a crisis of citizenship. At the heart of the contemporary debates this apparent crisis has provoked lie dynamic relations between the present and the past, between political theory and political practice, and between legal categories and lived experience. Yet studies of citizenship in Africa have often tended to foreshorten historical time and privilege the present at the expense of the deeper past.Citizenship,

Finalist for the 2017 Bethwell A. Ogot Prize from the African Studies Association · Winner of the Joel Gregory Prize from the Canadian Association of African Studies
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.

Cover of 'Marriage by Force?'

Marriage by Force?
Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa
Edited by Annie Bunting, Benjamin N. Lawrance, and Richard L. Roberts
· Foreword by Doris Buss
· Afterword by Emily S. Burrill

Despite international human rights decrees condemning it, marriage by force persists to this day. In this volume, the editors bring together legal scholars, anthropologists, historians, and development workers to explore the range of forced marriage practices in sub-Saharan Africa. The result is a masterful presentation of new perspectives on the practice.

A 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Ken Saro-Wiwa'

Ken Saro-Wiwa
By Roy Doron and Toyin Falola

A penetrating, accessible portrait of the activist whose execution galvanized the world. Hanged by the Nigerian government on November 10, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa became a martyr for the Ogoni people and for human rights activists, as well as a symbol of modern Africans’ struggle against military dictatorship, corporate power, and environmental exploitation.

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.

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.

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.

Winner of the 2016 American Historical Association’s Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history · Finalist for the 2016 Fage and Oliver Prize from the African Studies Association of the UK · Winner of the 2017 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize
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.

Cover of 'The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia'

The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia
Deposing the Spirits
By James C. McCann

Malaria is an infectious disease like no other: it is a dynamic force of nature and Africa’s most deadly and debilitating malady. James C. McCann tells the story of malaria in human, narrative terms and explains the history and ecology of the disease through the science of landscape change. All malaria is local.

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.

Cover of 'The Gender of Piety'

The Gender of Piety
Family, Faith, and Colonial Rule in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
By Wendy Urban-Mead

The Gender of Piety is an intimate history of the Brethren in Christ Church in Zimbabwe, or BICC, as related through six individual life histories that extend from the early colonial years through the first decade after independence. Taken together, these six lives show how men and women of the BICC experienced and sequenced their piety in different ways. Women usually remained tied to the church throughout their lives, while men often had a more strained relationship with it.

Cover of 'The Boy Is Gone'

The Boy Is Gone
Conversations with a Mau Mau General
By Laura Lee P. Huttenbach

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.

Winner of the 2016 Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize from the French Colonial History Society
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.

Cover of 'African Leaders of the Twentieth Century'

African Leaders of the Twentieth Century
Biko, Selassie, Lumumba, Sankara
By Lindy Wilson, Bereket Habte Selassie, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, and Ernest Harsch

This omnibus edition brings together concise and up-to-date biographies of Steve Biko, Emperor Haile Selassie, Patrice Lumumba, and Thomas Sankara. African Leaders of the Twentieth Century will complement courses in history and political science and serve as a useful collection for the general reader.Steve Biko, by Lindy Wilson Steve Biko inspired a generation of black South Africans to claim their true identity and refuse to be a part of their own oppression.

Cover of 'The ANC Women’s League'

The ANC Women’s League
Sex, Gender and Politics
By Shireen Hassim

First formed in the early twentieth century, the ANC Women’s League has grown into a leading organization in the women’s movement in South Africa. The league has been at the forefront of the nation’s century-long transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy that espouses gender equality as a core constitutional value.

Cover of 'Short-Changed?'

Short-Changed?
South Africa since Apartheid
By Colin Bundy

What have been the most significant developments—political, social, economic—in South Africa since 1994? How much has changed since the demise of apartheid, and how much remains stubbornly the same? Should one celebrate a robust democracy now two decades old, or lament the corrosive effects of factionalism, greed, and corruption on political life? Colin Bundy tries to answer such questions, while avoiding simplistic or one-sided assessments of life under Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma.

Cover of 'The Soweto Uprising'

The Soweto Uprising
By Noor Nieftagodien

The Soweto uprising was a true turning point in South Africa’s history. Even to contemporaries, it seemed to mark the beginning of the end of apartheid. This compelling book examines both the underlying causes and the immediate factors that led to this watershed event. It looks at the crucial roles of Black Consciousness ideology and nascent school-based organizations in shaping the character and form of the revolt.

Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women’s experiences from the African Studies Association · Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize
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.

Finalist for the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Prize
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.

Cover of 'Patrice Lumumba'

Patrice Lumumba
By Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja

Patrice Lumumba was a leader of the independence struggle in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the country’s first democratically elected prime minister. After a meteoric rise in the colonial civil service and the African political elite, he became a major figure in the decolonization movement of the 1950s.

Cover of 'Thomas Sankara'

Thomas Sankara
An African Revolutionary
By Ernest Harsch

Thomas Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was president of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa, until his assassination during the military coup that brought down his government. Although his tenure in office was relatively short, Sankara left an indelible mark on his country’s history and development.

Cover of 'Emperor Haile Selassie'

Emperor Haile Selassie
By Bereket Habte Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the twentieth century, a progressive monarch who ruled Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974. This book, written by a former state official who served in a number of important positions in Selassie’s government, tells both the story of the emperor’s life and the story of modern Ethiopia.After a struggle for the throne in 1916, the young Selassie emerged first as regent and then as supreme leader of Ethiopia.

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.

Cover of 'Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa'

Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa
By Wayne Dooling

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.

Cover of 'A Burning Hunger'

A Burning Hunger
One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid
By Lynda Schuster

A Burning Hunger shows the human catastrophe that plagued generations of black Africans in the powerful story of one religious and law-abiding Soweto family. Basing her narrative on extensive research and interviews, Lynda Schuster richly portrays this remarkable family and in so doing reveals black South Africa during a time of momentous change.

Finalist for the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Prize
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.

Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women’s experiences from the African Studies Association · Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize
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.

Finalist for the African Studies Association’s 2010 Melville J. Herskovits Award.
Cover of 'Wielding the Ax'

Wielding the Ax
State Forestry and Social Conflict in Tanzania, 1820–2000
By Thaddeus Sunseri

Forests have been at the fault lines of contact between African peasant communities in the Tanzanian coastal hinterland and outsiders for almost two centuries. In recent decades, a global call for biodiversity preservation has been the main challenge to Tanzanians and their forests.Thaddeus Sunseri uses the lens of forest history to explore some of the most profound transformations in Tanzania from the nineteenth century to the present.

Finalist for the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women’s experiences
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.Bridewealth

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.Lauded by Germans for their loyalty during the East Africa campaign of World War I, but reviled by Tanzanians for the violence they committed during the making of the colonial state between 1890 and 1918, the askari have been poorly understood as historical agents.

Cover of 'Stones of Contention'

Stones of Contention
A History of Africa’s Diamonds
By Todd Cleveland

Stones of Contention explores the major developments in the remarkable history of Africa’s diamonds, from the earliest stirrings of international interest in the continent’s mineral wealth in the first millennium A.D. to the present day.

Cover of 'In Step with the Times'

In Step with the Times
Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique
By Paolo Israel

The helmet-shaped mapiko masks of Mozamxadbique have garnered admiration from African art scholars and collectors alike, due to their striking aesthetics and their grotesque allure. This book restores to mapiko its historic and artistic context, charting in detail the transformations of this masquerading tradition throughout the twentieth century.Based

Cover of 'Stones of Contention'

Stones of Contention
A History of Africa’s Diamonds
By Todd Cleveland

Stones of Contention explores the major developments in the remarkable history of Africa’s diamonds, from the earliest stirrings of international interest in the continent’s mineral wealth in the first millennium A.D. to the present day.