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Examines the representations of migration in African literature, film, and other visual media, with an eye to the stylistic features of these works as well as their contributions to debates on migration.
A work of synthesis on plantation slavery in nineteenth century Sokoto caliphate, engaging with major debates on internal African slavery, on the meaning of the term plantation and on comparative slavery
Islam, Power, and Dependency in the Gambia River Basin draws on new sources to offer an original approach to the study of land in African history. Documenting the impact of Islamization, the development of peanut production, and the institution of colonial rule on people living along the middle and lower Gambia River, the book shows how these waves of changes sweeping the region after 1850 altered local political and social arrangements, with important implications for the ability of elites to control land. Author Assan Sarr argues for a nuanced understanding of land and its historic value in Africa. Moving beyond a recognition of the material value of land, Sarr's analysis highlights its cultural and social worth, pointing out the spiritual associations the land generated and the ways that certain people gained privileged access to those spiritual powers. By emphasizing that the land around the Gambia River both inspired and gave form to a cosmology of ritual and belief, the book points to what might be considered an indigenous tradition of ecological preservation and protection. Assan Sarr is assistant professor of history at Ohio University.
'Nation as Grand Narrative' offers a methodical analysis of how relations of domination and subordination are conveyed through media narratives of nationhood. Using the typical postcolonial state of Nigeria as a template and engaging with disciplines ranging from media studies, political science, and social theory to historical sociology and hermeneutics, Wale Adebanwi examines how the nation as grand narrative provides a critical interpretive lens through which competition among ethnic, ethnoregional, and ethnoreligious groups can be analyzed. Adebanwi illustrates how meaning is connected to power through ideology in the struggles enacted on the pages of the print media over diverse issues including federalism, democracy and democratization, religion, majority-minority ethnic relations, space and territoriality, self-determination, and threat of secession. Nation as Grand Narrative will trigger further critical reflections on the articulation of relations of domination in the context of postcolonial grand narratives. Wale Adebanwi is associate professor of African American and African studies, University of California-Davis, and a visiting professor at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
In Humor, Silence, and Civil Society in Nigeria, Ebenezer Obadare offers an innovative perspective on the idea and reality of civil society. Mobilizing a wide range of concepts and insights from political science, African studies, sociology, cultural studies, media studies, anthropology, communications theory, and international development, Obadare develops a notion of civil society that radically departs from the literature's axiomatic focus on voluntary civic associations and focuses instead on more informal strategies of resistance, such as humor and silence. Compellingly argued, Humor, Silence, and Civil Society in Nigeria raises provocative questions on a topic of keen importance for students, scholars, and policymakers.
Ebenezer Obadare is associate professorof sociology at the University of Kansas. He is coeditor of Civic Agency in Africa: Arts of Resistance in the 21st Century (James Currey, 2014).
The emergence of well-known southern African kingdoms such as the famous kingdoms of the AmaZulu, AmaSwazi, and BaSotho in the early nineteenth century was the culmination of centuries of social and political developments that reflected the consolidation of the political control of ruling descent lines of small-scale chiefdoms across the region. This book traces events and developments among the peoples living in the regions of modern KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, southern Mozambique, and Lesotho from 1400 to 1830, as related in indigenous oral traditions and histories, in order to explain the social and political factors propelling sociopolitical consolidation and the emergence of chiefdoms and kingdoms. Elizabeth A. Eldredge is the author of The Creation of the Zulu Kingdom, 1815-1828: War, Shaka, and the Consolidation of Power (2014), Power in Colonial Africa: Conflict and Discourse in Lesotho, 1870-1960 (2007), and A South African Kingdom: The Pursuit of Security in Nineteenth-Century Lesotho (2002).
This book presents a multidisciplinary study of how Nigerian pentecostals conceive of and engage with a spirit-filled world. It seeks to discern the spirituality of the charismatic religious movement in Nigeria in relation to issues of politics, national sovereignty, economic development, culture, racial identity, gender, social ethics, and epistemology. Nimi Wariboko describes the faith's core beliefs and practices, revealing a "spell of the invisible" that defines not only the character of the movement but also believers' ways of seeing, being, and doing. Written by an insider to the tradition, Nigerian Pentecostalism will also engage outsiders with an interest in criticalsocial theory, political theory, and philosophy. Nimi Wariboko is the Katherine B. Stuart Professor of Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit (2011) and The Depth and Destiny of Work: An African Theological Interpretation (2008).
Established as the commercial and administrative capital of the Gold Coast Colony (now Ghana) in the late nineteenth century, the city of Accra experienced profound societal changes throughout the twentieth century. The Politics of Chieftaincy examines the disputes over authority and property during the peak decades of British colonial rule. Between 1920 and 1950, colonization, commercialization, and urbanization sparked and sharpened a range of controversies. The removal of chiefs from office, succession disputes, and litigation resulting from land alienation and urban development became commonplace. An intriguing dynamic unfolded as colonial rule intersected with grassroots politics: although chieftaincy disputes and litigation were powerful sites of conflict and disruption, they also became spaces for local people to negotiate the sociopolitical and economic changes of the period. Sackeyfio-Lenoch demonstrates how these disputes opened new arenas for Accra's residents to engage in dialogue about the efficacy of chieftaincy and the meaning of property and its alienation during colonial rule. Accra exerted dominance inthe region by virtue of its location and status; its history provides us with an important case study for understanding urban and colonial processes in Africa during the first half of the twentieth century. Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch is Assistant Professor of African History at Dartmouth College.
The Ozidi Saga is one of Africa's best known prosimetric epics, set in the Delta region of Nigeria. Blood on the Tides examines the epic -- a tale of a warrior and his sorcerer grandmother's revenge upon the assassins who killed her son -- both as an example of oral literature and as a reflection of the specific social and political concerns of the Nigerian Delta and the country as a whole. Okpewho examines various iterations of the saga, including a performance of the entire saga in 1963 in Ibadan by the folk artist Okabou Okobolo. This performance was subsequently transcribed, translated, and edited by the renowned Nigerian poet, playwright, and scholar John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo. Isidore Okpewho is Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies, English, and Comparative Literature at Binghamton University (SUNY). He is the author of The Epic in Africa, Myth in Africa, African Oral Literature, and Once Upon a Kingdom. An award-winning novelist, he has published four titles: The Victims, The Last Duty, Tides, and Call Me By My Rightful Name.
The third volume of Bernth Lindfors's award-winning biography, Ira Aldridge: Performing Shakespeare in Europe, 1852-1855 traces the American-born black classical actor's itinerary on his first Continental tour, recounting his performances and analyzing audience responses to them. He initially toured with an experienced British troupe he recruited, but eventually he started performing with local actors and actresses who spoke their parts in their ownlanguage while he continued to deliver his lines in English. This bilingual collaboration worked well in Western Europe and introduced him to audiences in Hungary, Poland, and other East European territories he might not otherwise have reached. This venture abroad changed Aldridge as a performer. Audiences in Europe wanted to see him in Shakespearean roles rather than in the racial melodramas and farces that were popular in the British Isles. As a consequence, Aldridge concentrated almost exclusively on performing as Othello, Shylock, Macbeth, and Richard III. In the course of his travels he won more major international awards and honors, often conferred by royalty, than anyother actor of his day. These were his glory years. Bernth Lindfors, Professor Emeritus of English and African Literatures, University of Texas at Austin, is the author of Ira Aldridge: The Early Years, 1807-1833and Ira Aldridge: The Vagabond Years, 1833-1852, both published by the University of Rochester Press in 2011.
Enchanted Calvinism's central proposition is that Ghanaian Presbyterian communities, both past and present, have become significantly more enchanted--that is, more attuned to spiritual explanations of and remedies for suffering--as they have become more integrated into capitalist modes of production. The author draws on a specific Weberian concept of religious enchantment to frame the discussion of spiritual affliction and spiritual healing within the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, particularly under the conditions of labor migration: first, in the early twentieth century during the cocoa boom in Ghana and second, at the turn of the twenty-first century in the context of the healthcare migration from Ghana to North America. Relying on extensive archival research, oral historical interviews, and participant-observation group interviews conducted in North America, Europe, and West Africa, the study provides evidence that the more these Ghanaian Calvinists became dependent on capitalist modes of production, the more enchanted their lives, and, subsequently, their church became, although in different ways within these two migrations. One striking pattern that has emerged among Ghanaian Presbyterian labor migrants in North America, for example, is a radical shift in gendered healing practices, where women have become prominent healers, while a significant number of men have become spirit-possessed. Adam Mohr is a Senior Writing Fellow in Anthropology with the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Edward Wilmot Blyden and the Racial Nationalist Imagination is a critical study of one of the most prolific and knowledgeable black-world intellectuals of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focusing on his writings, it shows the contradictions, ambiguities, complexities, and paradoxes in Blyden's powerful black racial nationalism. Blyden was a modernist who called upon African Americans to "uplift" Africa; yet he was a defender of Africa's culture and customs. He was the most sophisticated critic of Eurocentrism; yet he was an avid Anglophile. He was a Protestant who admired Islam's "civilizing" role in Africa. Blyden was the first black intellectual to advocate for the symbiosis of Africa's "triple heritage": indigenous, Islamic, and Western. His voluminous writings laid the groundwork for some of the most important ideas of African and black diasporic thinkers of the twentieth century, including Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Chiekh Anta Diop, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aimé Césaire, and Walter Rodney.
Though Blyden is often overlooked in the history of modern black thought, in this book, Teshale Tibebu brings him out of oblivion and engages the reader in an extended, systematic evaluation of his written works.
Teshale Tibebu is professor of history at Temple University. He is the author of The Making of Modern Ethiopia, 1896-1974, Hegel and Anti-Semitism, and Hegel and the Third World: The Making of Eurocentrism in World History.
Ethnicity in Zimbabwe: Transformations in Kalanga and Ndebele Societies, 1860-1990' is a comparative study of identity shifts in two large ethnic groups in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. The study begins in 1860, a year after the establishment of the Inyati mission station in the Ndebele Kingdom, and ends in the postcolonial period. Author Enocent Msindo asserts that-despite what many social historians have argued-the creation of ethnic identity in Matabeleland was not solely the result of colonial rule and the new colonial African elites, but that African ethnic consciousness existed prior to this time, formed and shaped by ordinary members of these ethnic groups. During this period, the interaction of the Kalanga and Ndebele fed the development of complex ethnic, regional, cultural, and subnationalist identities. By examining the complexities of identities in this region, Msindo uncovers hidden, alternative, and unofficial histories; contested claims to land and civic authority; the politics of language; the struggles of communities defined as underdogs; and the different ways by which the dominant Ndebele have dealt with their regional others, the Kalanga. The book ultimately demonstrates the ways in which debates around ethnicity and other identities in Zimbabwe-and in Matabeleland in particular-relate to wider issues in both rural and urban Zimbabwe past and present. Enocent Msindo is Senior Lecturer in History at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Scholars have long recognized the importance of gender and hierarchy in the slave societies of the New World, yet gendered analysis of Cuba has lagged behind study of other regions. Cuban elites recognized that creating and maintaining the Cuban slave society required a rigid social hierarchy based on race, gender, and legal status. Given the dramatic changes that came to Cuba in the wake of the Haitian Revolution and the growth of the enslaved population, the maintenance of order required a patriarchy that placed both women and slaves among the lower ranks. Based on a variety of archival and printed primary sources, this book examines how patriarchy functioned outside the confines of the family unit by scrutinizing the foundation on which nineteenth-century Cuban patriarchy rested. This book investigates how patriarchy operated in the lives of the women of Cuba, from elite women to slaves. Through chapters on motherhood, marriage, education, public charity, and the sale of slaves, insight is gained into the role of patriarchy both as a guiding ideology and lived history in the Caribbean's longest lasting slave society. Sarah L. Franklin is assistant professor of history at the University of North Alabama.
Ira Aldridge: The Vagabond Years, 1833-1852 deals in depth with the later experiences of one of the modern world's first black classical actors as he toured throughout the United Kingdom impressing audiences with his virtuosity and versatility as an interpreter not only of tragic and comic black roles but also eventually as an actor of classic white Shakespearean parts -- Shylock, Macbeth, Richard III, even Iago. Aldridge was very popular in Ireland and remained there for six years, performing in venues large and small. He traveled often in his own carriage with assistants who supported him in scenes, enabling famous plays to be staged anywhere, even in villages that did not have a proper theater. He also performed periodically in large cities with professional acting companies, and returned to the London stage in 1848, after leaving it fifteen years earlier. During these years he expanded his repertoire, refined his skills, and gained a reputation as one of Britain's most talented thespians. In dealing with Aldridge's emergence as a professional actor in the United Kingdom, Lindfors here records in detail the ups and downs of his itinerant existence in a world where no theatergoer had ever seen anyone like him on stage before. Aldridge was genuinely a unique phenomenon in Britain at a pivotal point in history.
Bernth Lindfors is Professor Emeritus of English and African Literatures, University of Texas at Austin, and editor of Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius (University of Rochester Press, 2007).
Ira Aldridge: The Early Years, 1807-1833 chronicles the rise of one of the modern world's first black classical actors, as he ascended from an impoverished childhood in New York City to a career as a celebrated thespian on the British stage. After a successful debut in London in 1825, Aldridge began touring the British provinces, billing himself grandiloquently as the "African Roscius," and attracting crowds with his powerful presence and style. He received accolades not only as a tragedian in classic roles such as Othello and Oroonoko but also as a comic actor in popular farces and musicals. In 1833, when a bill to abolish slavery was being debated in Parliament, he was called back to London to perform at one of the city's most prestigious theaters, where his appearance, now under his own name but also billed as "a native of Senegal," created a great deal of controversy. In dealing with Aldridge's emergence as a professional actor in the United Kingdom, Lindfors here records in detail the ups and downs of his itinerant existence in a world where no theatergoer had ever seen anyone like him on stage before. Aldridge was genuinely a unique phenomenon in Britain at a pivotal point in history.
Bernth Lindfors is Professor Emeritus of English and African Literatures, University of Texas at Austin, and editor of Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius (University of Rochester Press, 2007).
Narrating War and Peace in Africa interrogates conventional representations of Africa and African culture -- mainly in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries -- with an emphasis on portrayals of conflict and peace. While Africa has experienced political and social turbulence throughout its history, more recent conflicts seem to reinforce the myth of barbarism across the continent: in Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Chad, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. The essays in this volume address reductive and stereotypical assumptions of postcolonial violence as "tribal" in nature, and offer instead various perspectives -- across disciplinary boundaries -- that foster a less fetishized, more contextualized understanding of African war, peace, and memory. Through their geographical, historical, and cultural scope and diversity, the chapters in Narrating War and Peace in Africa aim to challenge negative stereotypes that abound in relation to Africa in general and to its wars and conflicts in particular, encouraging a shift to more balanced and nuanced representations of the continent and its political and social climates.
Contributors: Ann Albuyeh, Zermarie Deacon, Alicia C. Decker, Aména Moïnfar, Kayode Omoniyi Ogunfolabi, Sabrina Parent, Susan Rasmussen, Michael Sharp, Cheryl Sterling, Hetty ter Haar, Melissa Tully, Pamela Wadende, Metasebia Woldemariam, Jonathan Zilberg.
Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Hetty ter Haar is an independent researcher in England.