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Colonialism and Decolonization

Colonialism and Decolonization Book List

Cover of 'Colonial Meltdown'

Colonial Meltdown
Northern Nigeria in the Great Depression
By Moses E. Ochonu

Historians of colonial Africa have largely regarded the decade of the Great Depression as a period of intense exploitation and colonial inactivity. In Colonial Meltdown, Moses E. Ochonu challenges this conventional interpretation by mapping the responses of Northern Nigeria’s chiefs, farmers, laborers, artisans, women, traders, and embryonic elites to the British colonial mismanagement of the Great Depression.

Cover of 'Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar'

Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar
The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad
By G. Thomas Burgess

Zanzibar has had the most turbulent postcolonial history of any part of the United Republic of Tanzania, yet few sources explain the reasons why. From a series of personal interviews conducted over several years, Thomas Burgess has produced two highly readable first-person narratives in which two nationalists in Africa describe their conflicts, achievements, failures, and tragedies.

Cover of 'Hanging by a Thread'

Hanging by a Thread
Cotton, Globalization, and Poverty in Africa
Edited by William G. Moseley and Leslie C. Gray

Hanging by a Thread illuminates the connections between Africa and the global economy. The editors offer a compelling set of linked studies that detail one aspect of the globalization process in Africa, the cotton commodity chain.

International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Book Prize
Shortlist Social Sciences
Cover of 'Being “Dutch” in the Indies'

Being “Dutch” in the Indies
A History of Creolisation and Empire, 1500–1920
By Ulbe Bosma and Remco Raben
· Translation by Wendie Shaffer

Being “Dutch” in the Indies portrays Dutch colonial territories in Asia not as mere societies under foreign occupation but rather as a “Creole empire.” In telling the story of the Creole empire, the authors draw on government archives, newspapers, and literary works as well as genealogical studies that follow the fortunes of individual families over several generations. They also critically analyze theories relating to culturally and racially mixed communities.

Winner of the African Politics Conference Group’s Best Book Award
Cover of 'Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946–1958'

Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946–1958
By Elizabeth Schmidt

In September 1958, Guinea claimed its independence, rejecting a constitution that would have relegated it to junior partnership in the French Community. In all the French empire, Guinea was the only territory to vote “No.” Orchestrating the “No” vote was the Guinean branch of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA), an alliance of political parties with affiliates in French West and Equatorial Africa and the United Nations trusts of Togo and Cameroon.

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.

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 '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 '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 'Violence, Political Culture & Development in Africa'

Violence, Political Culture & Development in Africa
Edited by Preben Kaarsholm

Africa has witnessed a number of transitions to democracy in recent years. Coinciding with this upsurge in democratic transitions have been spectacular experiences of social disintegration. An alternative to discourses of the “failed” and “collapsed” state in Africa is an approach that takes seriously the complex historical processes underlying the political development of individual nation states.

Cover of 'Colonial Rosary'

Colonial Rosary
The Spanish and Indian Missions of California
By Alison Lake

California would be a different place today without the imprint of Spanish culture and the legacy of Indian civilization. The colonial Spanish missions that dot the coast and foothills between Sonoma and San Diego are relics of a past that transformed California’s landscape and its people. In a spare and accessible style, Colonial Rosary looks at the complexity of California’s Indian civilization and the social effects of missionary control.

Winner of the 2008 Benda Prize
Cover of 'The Komedie Stamboel'

The Komedie Stamboel
Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891–1903
By Matthew Isaac Cohen

Originating in 1891 in the port city of Surabaya, the Komedie Stamboel, or Istanbul-style theater, toured colonial Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by rail and steamship. The company performed musical versions of the Arabian Nights and European fairy tales and operas such as Sleeping Beauty and Aida, as well as Indian and Persian romances, Southeast Asian chronicles, true crime stories, and political allegories.

Cover of 'Imperial Gullies'

Imperial Gullies
Soil Erosion and Conservation in Lesotho
By Kate B. Showers

Once the grain basket for South Africa, much of Lesotho has become a scarred and degraded landscape. The nation’s spectacular erosion and gullying have concerned environmentalists and conservationists for more than half a century. In Imperial Gullies: Soil Erosion and Conservation in Lesotho, Kate B. Showers documents the truth behind this devastation. Showers reconstructs the history of the landscape, beginning with a history of the soil.

Cover of 'Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa'

Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa
By Timothy H. Parsons

Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting's global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority.

Cover of 'Portugal and Africa'

Portugal and Africa
By David Birmingham

Portugal was the first European nation to assert itself aggressively in African affairs. David Birmingham's Portugal and Africa, a collection of uniquely accessible historical essays, surveys this colonial encounter from its earliest roots.