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Western Africa

Western Africa Book List

Cover of 'Making Money'

Making Money
Life, Death, and Early Modern Trade on Africa’s Guinea Coast
By Colleen E. Kriger

A new era in world history began when Atlantic maritime trade among Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas opened up in the fifteenth century, setting the stage for massive economic and cultural change. In Making Money, Colleen Kriger examines the influence of the global trade on the Upper Guinea Coast two hundred years later—a place and time whose study, in her hands, imparts profound insights into Anglo-African commerce and its wider milieu.

Cover of 'Market Encounters'

Market Encounters
Consumer Cultures in Twentieth-Century Ghana
By Bianca Murillo

By emphasizing the centrality of human relationships to Ghana’s economic past, Murillo introduces a radical rethinking of consumption studies from an Africa-centered perspective. The result is a keen look at colonial capitalism in all of its intricacies, legacies, and contradictions, including its entanglement with gender and race.

Cover of 'Living with Nkrumahism'

Living with Nkrumahism
Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana
By Jeffrey S. Ahlman

In the 1950s, Ghana, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party, drew the world’s attention as anticolonial activists, intellectuals, and politicians looked to it as a model for Africa’s postcolonial future. Nkrumah was a visionary, a statesman, and one of the key makers of contemporary Africa. In Living with Nkrumahism, Jeffrey S. Ahlman reexamines the infrastructure that organized and consolidated Nkrumah’s philosophy into a political program.

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 '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.

Cover of 'Black Skin, White Coats'

Black Skin, White Coats
Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry
By Matthew M. Heaton

Black Skin, White Coats is a history of psychiatry in Nigeria from the 1950s to the 1980s. Working in the contexts of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism, Nigerian psychiatrists sought to replace racist colonial psychiatric theories about the psychological inferiority of Africans with a universal and egalitarian model focusing on broad psychological similarities across cultural and racial boundaries. Particular emphasis is placed on Dr.

Finalist for the 2014 Melville J. Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association.
Cover of 'The Power to Name'

The Power to Name
A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa
By Stephanie Newell

Between the 1880s and the 1940s, the region known as British West Africa became a dynamic zone of literary creativity and textual experimentation. African-owned newspapers offered local writers numerous opportunities to contribute material for publication, and editors repeatedly defined the press as a vehicle to host public debates rather than simply as an organ to disseminate news or editorial ideology.

Cover of 'Our New Husbands Are Here'

Our New Husbands Are Here
Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule
By Emily Lynn Osborn

In Our New Husbands Are Here, Emily Lynn Osborn investigates a central puzzle of power and politics in West African history: Why do women figure frequently in the political narratives of the precolonial period, and then vanish altogether with colonization? Osborn addresses this question by exploring the relationship of the household to the state.

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 '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 'Themes in West Africa’s History'

Themes in West Africa’s History
Edited by Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong

There has long been a need for a new textbook on West Africa’s history. In Themes in West Africa’s History, editor Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and his contributors meet this need, examining key themes in West Africa's prehistory to the present through the lenses of their different disciplines. The contents of the book comprise an introduction and thirteen chapters divided into three parts.

Cover of 'Negotiating Power and Privilege'

Negotiating Power and Privilege
Career Igbo Women in Contemporary Nigeria
By Philomina E. Okeke-Ihejirika

Even with a university education, the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their professional and personal potentials. Negotiating Power and Privilege is a study of their life choices and the embedded patriarchy and other obstacles in postcolonial Africa barring them from fulfillment. Philomina E. Okeke recorded life-history interviews and discussions during the 1990s with educated women of differing ages and professions.

Cover of 'Slavery and Reform in West Africa'

Slavery and Reform in West Africa
Toward Emancipation in Nineteenth-Century Senegal and the Gold Coast
By Trevor R. Getz

A series of transformations, reforms, and attempted abolitions of slavery form a core narrative of nineteenth-century coastal West Africa. As the region's role in Atlantic commercial networks underwent a gradual transition from principally that of slave exporter to producer of “legitimate goods” and dependent markets, institutions of slavery became battlegrounds in which European abolitionism, pragmatic colonialism, and indigenous agency clashed.

Cover of 'Fighting the Slave Trade'

Fighting the Slave Trade
West African Strategies
Edited by Sylviane A. Diouf

While most studies of the slave trade focus on the volume of captives and on their ethnic origins, the question of how the Africans organized their familial and communal lives to resist and assail it has not received adequate attention. But our picture of the slave trade is incomplete without an examination of the ways in which men and women responded to the threat and reality of enslavement and deportation.