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African History

African History Book List

Cover of 'Butterflies & Barbarians'

Butterflies & Barbarians
Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa
By Patrick Harries

Swiss missionaries played a primary and little-known role in explaining Africa to the literate world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book emphasizes how these European intellectuals, brought to the deep rural areas of southern Africa by their vocation, formulated and ordered knowledge about the continent. Central to this group was Junod, who became a pioneering collector in the fields of entomology and botany.

Cover of 'Cultivating Success in Uganda'

Cultivating Success in Uganda
Kigezi Farmers and Colonial Policies
By Grace Carswell

Kigezi, a district in southwestern Uganda, is exceptional in many ways. In contrast to many other parts of the colonial world, this district did not adopt cash crops. Soil conservation practices were successfully adopted, and the region maintained a remarkably developed and individualized land market from the early colonial period. Grace Carswell presents a comprehensive study of livelihoods in Kigezi.

2009 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title  · A Library Journal “Editor’s Pick”
Cover of 'Claim to the Country'

Claim to the Country
The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd
By Pippa Skotnes

In the 1870s, facing cultural extinction and the death of their language, several San men and women told their stories to two pioneering colonial scholars in Cape Town, Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. The narratives of these San—or Bushmen—were of the land, the rain, the history of the first people, and the origin of the moon and stars.

Cover of 'Imagining Serengeti'

Imagining Serengeti
A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Times to the Present
By Jan Bender Shetler

Many students come to African history with a host of stereotypes that are not always easy to dislodge. One of the most common is that of Africa as safari grounds—as the land of expansive, unpopulated game reserves untouched by civilization and preserved in their original pristine state by the tireless efforts of contemporary conservationists.

Winner of the George Perkins Marsh Prize for Best Book in Environmental History · Winner of the Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Work in Geography · Winner of the James Blaut Award in recognition of innovative scholarship in Cultural and Political Ecology
Cover of 'Resurrecting the Granary of Rome'

Resurrecting the Granary of Rome
Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa
By Diana K. Davis

Tales of deforestation and desertification in North Africa have been told from the Roman period to the present. Such stories of environmental decline in the Maghreb are still recounted by experts and are widely accepted without question today. International organizations such as the United Nations frequently invoke these inaccurate stories to justify environmental conservation and development projects in the arid and semiarid lands in North Africa and around the Mediterranean basin.

Cover of 'African Gifts of the Spirit'

African Gifts of the Spirit
Pentecostalism and the Rise of a Zimbabwean Transnational Religious Movement
By David Maxwell

This book considers the rise of born-again Christianity in Africa through a study of one of the most dynamic Pentecostal movements. David Maxwell traces the transformation of the prophet Ezekiel Guti and his prayer band from small beginnings in the townships of the 1950s into the present-day transnational business enterprise, which is now the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God.

Cover of 'Black and White in Colour'

Black and White in Colour
African History on Screen
Edited by Vivian Bickford-Smith and Richard Mendelsohn

Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen considers how the African past has been represented in a wide range of historical films. Written by a team of eminent international scholars, the volume provides extensive coverage of both place and time and deals with major issues in the written history of Africa. Themes include the slave trade, imperialism and colonialism, racism, and anticolonial resistance.

Cover of 'Triumph of the Expert'

Triumph of the Expert
Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism
By Joseph Morgan Hodge

Triumph of the Expert is a history of British colonial policy and thinking and its contribution to the emergence of rural development and environmental policies in the late colonial and postcolonial period. Joseph Morgan Hodge examines the way that development as a framework of ideas and institutional practices emerged out of the strategic engagement between science and the state at the climax of the British Empire.

Cover of 'The Forger’s Tale'

The Forger’s Tale
The Search for Odeziaku
By Stephanie Newell

Between 1905 and 1939 a conspicuously tall white man with a shock of red hair, dressed in a silk shirt and white linen trousers, could be seen on the streets of Onitsha, in Eastern Nigeria. How was it possible for an unconventional, boy-loving Englishman to gain a social status among the local populace enjoyed by few other Europeans in colonial West Africa?

Cover of 'Sorcery and Sovereignty'

Sorcery and Sovereignty
Taxation, Power, and Rebellion in South Africa, 1880–1963
By Sean Redding

Rebellions broke out in many areas of South Africa shortly after the institution of white rule in the late nineteenth century and continued into the next century. However, distrust of the colonial regime reached a new peak in the mid-twentieth century, when revolts erupted across a wide area of rural South Africa. All these uprisings were rooted in grievances over taxes.

Cover of 'Natures of Colonial Change'

Natures of Colonial Change
Environmental Relations in the Making of the Transkei
By Jacob A. Tropp

In this groundbreaking study, Jacob A. Tropp explores the interconnections between negotiations over the environment and an emerging colonial relationship in a particular South African context—the Transkei—subsequently the largest of the notorious “homelands” under apartheid. In the late nineteenth century, South Africa’s Cape Colony completed its incorporation of the area beyond the Kei River, known as the Transkei, and began transforming the region into a labor reserve.

Cover of 'Emancipation without Abolition in German East Africa, c. 1884–1914'

Emancipation without Abolition in German East Africa, c. 1884–1914
By Jan-Georg Deutsch

This study examines the complex history of slavery in East Africa, focusing on the area that came under German colonial rule. In contrast to the policy pursued at the time by other colonial powers in Africa, the German authorities did not legally abolish slavery in their colonial territories. However, despite government efforts to keep the institution of slavery alive, it significantly declined in Tanganyika in the period concerned.

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.

Cover of 'Crisis and Decline in Bunyoro'

Crisis and Decline in Bunyoro
Population & Environment in Western Uganda 1860–1955
By Shane Doyle

One of the first studies of the political ecology of a major African kingdom, Crisis and Decline in Bunyoro focuses on the interplay between levels of environmental activity within a highly stratified society.

Cover of 'Empire in Africa'

Empire in Africa
Angola and Its Neighbors
By David Birmingham

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.