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African Studies

African Studies Book List

Cover of 'Militarizing Marriage'

Militarizing Marriage
West African Soldiers’ Conjugal Traditions in Modern French Empire
By Sarah J. Zimmerman

By prioritizing women and conjugality in the historiography of African colonial soldiers, Militarizing Marriage historicizes how the subjugation of women was indispensable to military conquest and colonial rule across French Empire.

History | Africa | West · Women’s Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization · Military History · Western Africa · Senegal · Algeria · Middle East · Syria · Madagascar · Vietnam · African Studies

Cover of 'Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa'

Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa
By Nwando Achebe

Drawing from distinctly African source materials and methods, Achebe’s groundbreaking historical account examines the shared power, influence, and authority that uniquely African, female-gendered entities—people, diviners, and deities—exert across Africa’s interconnected physical and spiritual worlds.

History | Women · African History · Religion | Sexuality & Gender Studies · Women’s Studies · Africa · African Studies

Cover of 'Radical Utu'

Radical Utu
Critical Ideas and Ideals of Wangari Muta Maathai
By Besi Brillian Muhonja

In Radical Utu: Critical Ideas and Ideals of Wangari Muta Maathai, Wangari Maathai is presented as a scholar whose contributions to gender equality, democratic spaces, economic equity and global governance, and indigenous African languages and knowledges paralleled her renowned environmental activism.

Political Philosophy · Kenya · African Studies · Women’s Studies

Cover of 'Safari Nation'

Safari Nation
A Social History of the Kruger National Park
By Jacob S. T. Dlamini

Safari Nation tells the history of the Kruger National Park through a black perspective, helping explain why Africa’s national parks—often derided by scholars as colonial impositions—survived the end of white rule on the continent.

Environmental History · African History · Race and Ethnicity · South Africa · African Studies · Apartheid

Cover of 'Josie Mpama/Palmer'

Josie Mpama/Palmer
Get Up and Get Moving
By Robert R. Edgar

The latest in the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Josie Mpama/Palmer: Get Up and Get Moving tells the story of Josie Mpama/Palmer’s activism and political legacy in South Africa and around the world.

Biography, Activists · Women’s Studies · South Africa · African Studies

Cover of 'Wangari Maathai'

Wangari Maathai
By Tabitha Kanogo

This concise biography tells the story of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner who devoted her life to campaigning for environmental conservation, sustainable development, democracy, human rights, gender equality, and the eradication of poverty.

Biography, Activists · Women’s Studies · Biography, Women · Kenya · African Studies

Cover of 'The Politics of Disease Control'

The Politics of Disease Control
Sleeping Sickness in Eastern Africa, 1890–1920
By Mari K. Webel

Situating sleeping sickness control within African intellectual worlds and political dynamics, Webel prioritizes local histories to understand the successes and failures of a widely used colonial public health intervention—the sleeping sickness camp—in dialogue with African strategies to mitigate illness and death in the past.

African History · History of Science · African Studies · Eastern Africa · Human Geography

Cover of 'Africa Every Day'

Africa Every Day
Fun, Leisure, and Expressive Culture on the Continent
Edited by Oluwakemi M. Balogun, Lisa Gilman, Melissa Graboyes, and Habib Iddrisu

Africa Every Day is a multidisciplinary and accessible counterpoint to the prevailing emphasis on war, poverty, corruption, and other challenges on the continent. Essays address creative and dynamic elements of daily life without romanticizing them, showing that African leisure and popular culture are the product of dynamism and adaptation.

Popular Culture · Africa · African Studies · Customs, Traditions, and Everyday Life · African Literature

Cover of 'Seeing Like a Citizen'

Seeing Like a Citizen
Decolonization, Development, and the Making of Kenya, 1945–1980
By Kara Moskowitz

In focusing on rural Kenyans as they actively sought access to aid, Moskowitz offers new insights into the texture of political life in the decolonizing and early postcolonial world. Her account complicates our understanding of Kenyan experiences of independence, and the meaning and form of development.

African History · Business & Economics | Development Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization · Kenya · African Studies

Cover of 'Emergent Masculinities'

Emergent Masculinities
Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age
By Ndubueze L. Mbah

Atlanticization—or interaction between regional processes and Atlantic forces such as the slave trade and Christianization—from 1750 to 1920 transformed gender into a primary mode of social differentiation in the Bight of Biafra. Mbah examines this process to fill a major gap in our understanding of gender’s role in precolonial Africa.

African History · Gender Studies · African Studies · Igbo · Slavery and Slave Trade · Western Africa · Atlantic Studies

Cover of 'Powerful Frequencies'

Powerful Frequencies
Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931–2002
By Marissa J. Moorman

Radio technology and broadcasting played a central role in the formation of colonial Portuguese Southern Africa and the postcolonial nation-state, Angola. Moorman details how settlers, the colonial state, African nationalists, and the postcolonial state all used radio to project power, while the latter employed it to challenge empire.

African History · Media Studies · Angola · African Studies

Cover of 'Age of Concrete'

Age of Concrete
Housing and the Shape of Aspiration in the Capital of Mozambique
By David Morton

Age of Concrete is about people building homes on tenuous ground in the outer neighborhoods of Maputo, Mozambique, places thought of simply as slums. But up close, they are an archive: houses of reeds, wood, zinc, and concrete embodying the ambitions of people who built their own largest investment and greatest bequest to the future.

African History · Human Geography · Urban History · Mozambique · African Studies · Urban Planning

Cover of 'Converging on Cannibals'

Converging on Cannibals
Terrors of Slaving in Atlantic Africa, 1509–1670
By Jared Staller

In Converging on Cannibals, Jared Staller demonstrates that one of the most terrifying discourses used during the era of transatlantic slaving—cannibalism—was coproduced 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.

African History · African Studies · Atlantic Studies · Slavery and Slave Trade

Cover of 'Children of Hope'

Children of Hope
The Odyssey of the Oromo Slaves from Ethiopia to South Africa
By Sandra Rowoldt Shell

In Children of Hope, Sandra Rowoldt Shell details the life histories of sixty-four Oromo children who were enslaved in Ethiopia in the late nineteenth century, liberated by the British navy, and ultimately sent to a Free Church of Scotland mission in South Africa, where their stories were recorded through a series of interviews.

African History · African Studies · Eastern Africa · Slavery and Slave Trade · Childhood · Children's Studies

Cover of 'Amílcar Cabral'

Amílcar Cabral
A Nationalist and Pan-Africanist Revolutionary
By Peter Karibe Mendy

Amílcar Cabral’s charismatic and visionary leadership, his pan-Africanist solidarity and internationalist commitment to “every just cause in the world,” remain relevant to contemporary struggles for emancipation and self-determination. This concise biography is an ideal introduction to his life and legacy.

Biography, Activists · Guinea-Bissau · History | Africa | West · African Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization · Western Africa

Cover of 'Talkative Polity'

Talkative Polity
Radio, Domination, and Citizenship in Uganda
By Florence Brisset-Foucault

Until they were banned in 2009, the radio debates called Ugandan People’s Parliaments gave common folk a forum to air their views. But how do people talk about politics in an authoritarian regime? The forms and parameters of such speech turn out to be more complex than a simple confrontation between an oppressive state and a liberal civil society.

Political Science · Media Studies · Uganda · African Studies

Cover of 'Modernist Art in Ethiopia'

Modernist Art in Ethiopia
By Elizabeth W. Giorgis

In locating her arguments at the intersection of visual culture and literary and performance studies, Giorgis details how innovations in visual art intersected with shifts in narratives of modernity. The result is a bold intellectual, cultural, and political history of Ethiopia, with art as its centerpiece.

Art History · Ethiopia · African Studies · African Art

Cover of 'A Short History of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart'

A Short History of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
By Terri Ochiagha

In the accessible and concise A Short History of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Terri Ochiagha asks new questions and brings wider attention to unfamiliar but crucial elements of the story, including new insights into questions of canonicity, and into literary, historiographical, and precolonial aesthetic influences.

African History · Literary Criticism, Africa · African Studies · Literary Collections | African · African Literature

Cover of 'Pursuing Justice in Africa'

Pursuing Justice in Africa
Competing Imaginaries and Contested Practices
Edited by Jessica Johnson and George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane
· Afterword by Kamari Maxine Clarke

Pursuing Justice in Africa focuses on visions of justice across the African continent, featuring essays that engage with topics at the cutting edge of contemporary scholarship across a wide range of disciplines including activism, land tenure, international legal institutions, and post-conflict reconciliation.

Human Rights · Africa · African Studies · Social Science | African Studies

Cover of 'Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War'

Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War
Sovereignty, Responsibility, and the War on Terror
By Elizabeth Schmidt

Many challenges facing the African continent today are rooted in colonial practices, Cold War alliances, and outsiders’ attempts to influence its political and economic systems. Interdisciplinary and intended for nonspecialists, this book provides a new framework for thinking about foreign political and military intervention in Africa.

African History · National and International Security · Terrorism · Violence in Society · Africa · African Studies · Colonialism and Decolonization

Cover of 'Prelude to Genocide'

Prelude to Genocide
Arusha, Rwanda, and the Failure of Diplomacy
By David Rawson

David Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences as the initial US observer of the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha to seek out what led to the Rwandan genocide. The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis of the crisis and of what happens generally when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.

Political Science, Genocide · Peace Studies · Diplomacy · International Studies · Rwanda · African Studies

Cover of 'Boko Haram'

Boko Haram
By Brandon Kendhammer and Carmen McCain

Going beyond the headlines, including the group’s 2014 abduction of 276 girls in Chibok and the ensuing international outrage, Boko Haram provides readers new to the conflict with a clearly written and comprehensive history of how the group came to be, the Nigerian government’s failed efforts to end it, and its impact on ordinary citizens.

African History · Terrorism · Religion | Religion, Politics & State · Nigeria · African Studies

Cover of 'Children of Hope'

Children of Hope
The Odyssey of the Oromo Slaves from Ethiopia to South Africa
By Sandra Rowoldt Shell

In Children of Hope, Sandra Rowoldt Shell details the life histories of sixty-four Oromo children who were enslaved in Ethiopia in the late nineteenth century, liberated by the British navy, and ultimately sent to a Free Church of Scotland mission in South Africa, where their stories were recorded through a series of interviews.

African History · African Studies · Eastern Africa · Slavery and Slave Trade · Childhood · Children's Studies

Cover of 'Amy Biehl’s Last Home'

Amy Biehl’s Last Home
A Bright Life, a Tragic Death, and a Journey of Reconciliation in South Africa
By Steven D. Gish

Granted unrestricted access to the Biehl family’s papers, Steven Gish brings Amy and the Foundation to life in ways that have eluded previous authors. He is the first to place Biehl’s story in its full historical context, while also presenting a gripping portrait of this remarkable young woman and the aftermath of her death across two continents.

Biography, Women · African History · South Africa · African Studies · Biography, Activists

Cover of 'Buying Time'

Buying Time
Debt and Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean
By Thomas F. McDow

Thomas F. McDow synthesizes Indian Ocean, Middle Eastern, and East African studies to explain how in the nineteenth century, credit, mobility, and kinship knit together a vast interconnected Indian Ocean region. McDow’s new historical analysis of the Indian Ocean reveals roles of previously invisible people.

African History · Legal and Constitutional History · Social History · 19th century · World and Comparative History · Eastern Africa · Middle East · Indian Ocean Studies · African Studies

Cover of 'Hip-Hop in Africa'

Hip-Hop in Africa
Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers
By Msia Kibona Clark
· Foreword by Quentin Williams
· Afterword by Akosua Adomako Ampofo

Msia Kibona Clark examines some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop scenes and shows how hip-hop helps us understand specifically African realities. A tribute to a genre and its artists, Hip-Hop in Africa details the spread of hip-hop culture in Africa and pushes the study of music and diaspora in critical new directions.

Hip Hop · African History · Women’s Studies · African Studies · Africa

Cover of 'Robert Mugabe'

Robert Mugabe
By Sue Onslow and Martin Plaut

For some, Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe is a liberation hero who confronted white rule and oversaw the radical redistribution of land. For others, he is a murderous dictator who drove his country to poverty. This concise biography, in a highly successful series, reveals the complexity of the man who led Zimbabwe for its first decades of independence.

Biography, Heads of State · African History · Zimbabwe · African Studies

Cover of 'Religion, Media, and Marginality in Modern Africa'

Religion, Media, and Marginality in Modern Africa
Edited by Felicitas Becker, Joel Cabrita, and Marie Rodet

In recent years, anthropologists, historians, and others have been drawn to study the profuse and creative usages of digital media by religious movements. At the same time, scholars of Christian Africa have long been concerned with the history of textual culture, the politics of Bible translation, and the status of the vernacular in Christianity.

Media Studies · Sociology of Religion · African History · Islam · Christianity · Africa · African Studies

Cover of 'Reel Pleasures'

Reel Pleasures
Cinema Audiences and Entrepreneurs in Twentieth-Century Urban Tanzania
By Laura Fair

Reel Pleasures brings the world of African moviehouses and the publics they engendered to life, revealing how local fans creatively reworked global media—from Indian melodrama to Italian westerns, kung fu, and blaxploitation films—to speak to local dreams and desires.

Media Studies · African History · History | Modern | 20th Century · African Studies · Tanzania · African Film · African Literature

Cover of 'Dedan Kimathi on Trial'

Dedan Kimathi on Trial
Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion
Edited by Julie MacArthur
· Introduction by Julie MacArthur
· Foreword by Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Long thought lost, hidden, or destroyed, the transcript of Mau Mau anticolonial revolutionary Dedan Kimathi’s 1956 trial during British colonial rule unsettles an already controversial event in Kenya’s history and prompts fresh examinations of its reverberations in the postcolonial present.

African History · Colonialism and Decolonization · History | Modern | 20th Century · African Studies · Mau Mau · Kenya