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African Studies

African Studies Book List

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

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.

Memoir · African History · Sufism · 20th century · Islam · African Studies · Sudan

Cover of 'Making the Mark'

Making the Mark
Gender, Identity, and Genital Cutting
By Miroslava Prazak

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.

Gender Studies · Anthropology · Women’s Studies · Cultural Anthropology · African Studies · Kenya

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.

African History · Colonialism and Decolonization · Legal and Constitutional History · African Studies · Race and Ethnicity · South Africa · Cote d'Ivoire · Ethiopia · Sudan · Mauritius

Cover of 'Obama and Kenya'

Obama and Kenya
Contested Histories and the Politics of Belonging
By Matthew Carotenuto and Katherine Luongo

Barack Obama’s political ascendancy has focused worldwide attention on Kenya. Carotenuto and Luongo argue that efforts to cast Obama as a “son of the soil” of the Lake Victoria basin invite insights into the politicized uses of Kenya’s past. Ideal for classroom use and directed at a general readership interested in global affairs, Obama and Kenya offers an important counterpoint to the many popular, but inaccurate texts about Kenya’s history and Obama’s place in it.

World History · International Studies · African Studies · American Studies · Kenya

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 '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.

Women’s Studies · Gender Studies · African History · Legal and Constitutional History · Slavery and Slave Trade · African Studies

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.

Biography, Activists · Environmental Studies · African History · African Studies · Nigeria · Western Africa · Africa

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 'Tales of the Metric System'

Tales of the Metric System
A Novel
By Imraan Coovadia

In Tales of the Metric System, Coovadia explores a turbulent South Africa from 1970 into the present. He takes his home country's transition from imperial to metric measurements as his catalyst, holding South Africa up and examining it from the diverse perspectives of his many characters.

Fiction · African Authors · African Studies · South Africa

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 'Ellen Johnson Sirleaf'

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
By Pamela Scully

In this concise biography, Scully shows us how the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaks to many of the key themes of the twenty-first century. Among these are the growing power of women in the arenas of international politics and human rights; the ravaging civil wars of the post–Cold War era in which sexual violence is used as a weapon; and the challenges of transitional justice in building postconflict societies.

Biography, Heads of State · Biography, Women · African Studies · Africa · Liberia · Western Africa

Cover of 'The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician'

The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician
A Novel
By Tendai Huchu

The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician follows three Zimbabwean expatriates in Edinburgh as they struggle to find places for themselves in Scotland. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, Huchu creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, belonging, and politics in the Zimbabwean diaspora.

Fiction · African Authors · African Studies · Zimbabwe

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