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Part I - Origins of the Development Episteme

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2020

Corrie Decker
University of California, Davis
Elisabeth McMahon
Tulane University, Louisiana
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The Idea of Development in Africa
A History
, pp. 17 - 100
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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Further Reading

On concepts of progress see Alavi, Hamza and Shanin, Teodor, Introduction to the Sociology of “Developing Societies” (Palgrave, 1982); Nisbet, Robert, History of the Idea of Progress (Transaction, 1994); Sklair, Leslie, The Sociology of Progress (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970); Woloch, Isser and Brown, Gregory S, Eighteenth Century Europe: Tradition and Progress, 1715–1789. Second edition (W. W. Norton, 2012).

On ideas of the civilizing mission see Abi-Mershed, Osama, Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria (Stanford University Press, 2010); Adeleke, Tunde, UnAfrican Americans: Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalists and the Civilizing Mission (University of Kentucky Press, 1998); Brantlinger, Patrick, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914 (Cornell University Press, 1990); Brantlinger, Patrick, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800–1930 (Cornell University Press, 2003); Wariboko, Waibinte E, Race and the Civilizing Mission: Their Implications for the Framing of Blackness and African Personhood (Africa World Press, 2010).

On ideas of poverty see Becker, Felicitas, The Politics of Poverty: Policy-Making and Development in Rural Tanzania (Cambridge University Press, 2019); Davie, Grace, Poverty Knowledge in South Africa: A Social History of Human Science, 1855–2005 (Cambridge University Press, 2014); Iliffe, John, The African Poor: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2009 [orig. 1987]).

Further Reading

On the creation of knowledge about Africa, see Hodge, Joseph Morgan, Triumph of the Expert: Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism (Ohio University Press, 2007); Mudimbe, V. Y, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge (Indiana University Press, 1988); Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Second edition (Routledge, 2007); Tilley, Helen, Africa As a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870–1950 (University of Chicago Press, 2011); Tilley, Helen, ed., with Gordon, Robert J, Ordering Africa: Anthropology, European Imperialism, and the Politics of Knowledge (Manchester University Press, 2010).

On European mapping of the African continent, see Bassett, Thomas J. and Porter, Philip W., “‘From the Best Authorities’: The Mountains of Kong in the Cartography of West Africa,” Journal of African History 32:3 (1991) 367413; Cosgrove, Denis and Daniels, Stephen, eds., The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments (Cambridge University Press, 1988); Curtin, Philip D, The Image of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780–1850 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1964); Surun, Isabelle, “French Military Officers and the Mapping of West Africa: The Case of Captain Brosselard-Faidherbe,” Journal of Historical Geography 37 (2011) 167177.

The most prolific British author in the genre of exploration literature was Richard F. Burton. For examples of his work, see Burton, Richard F., First Footsteps in East Africa, or, An exploration of Hārar (Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1856); The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration (Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1860); Wanderings in West Africa from Liverpool to Fernando Po (Tinsley Brothers, 1863); and Zanzibar: City, Island, and Coast (Tinsley Brothers, 1872). Other explorers’ works include Kingsley, Mary H, Travels in West Africa: Congo Francais, Corisco and Cameroons (Macmillan, 1897); Kingsley, Mary H, The Story of West Africa (H. Marshall & Son, 1899); Livingstone, David, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa [electronic resource]: Including a Sketch of Sixteen Years’ Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the West Coast, Thence across the Continent, Down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean (John Murray, 1857); Speke, John Hanning, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile (Harper, 1864); and Stanley, Henry Morton, The Congo and the Founding of Its Free State: A Story of Work and Exploration (Harper, 1885).

Further Reading

On the history of evolution theories and pseudoscientific racism see Braun, Lundy, Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics (University of Minnesota Press, 2014); Dubow, Saul, Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Herbert, Sandra, Charles Darwin and the Question of Evolution: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford St. Martins, 2011); Jackson, John P Jr., Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education (New York University Press, 2005); Ospovat, Dov, The Development of Darwin’s Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology, and Natural Selection, 1838–1859 (Cambridge University Press, 1981);  Wylie, Diana, Starving on a Full Stomach: Hunger and the Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa (University of Virginia Press, 2001).

On the history of eugenics and physical anthropology see Bank, Andrew, “Of ‘Native Skulls’ and ‘Noble Caucasians’: Phrenology in Colonial South Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 22:3 (1996) 387403; Bonner, Philip L., Esterhuysen, Amanda, and Jenkins, Trefor, eds., A Search for Origins: Science, History and South Africa’s “Cradle of Humankind” (Wits University Press, 2007); Campbell, Chloe, Race and Empire: Eugenics in Colonial Kenya (Manchester University Press, 2007).

Further Reading

On the civilizing mission and colonial policies, see Conklin, Alice, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930 (Stanford University Press, 1997); Chanock, Martin, Law, Custom, and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (Heinemann, 1998); Lawrance, Benjamin N, Osborn, Emily Lynn, and Roberts, Richard L, eds., Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Colonial Africa (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006); and Thomas, Lynn, Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya (University of California Press, 2003).

On the creation of “tribes” in the context of imperialism and colonialism, see French-Sheldon, Mary, Sultan to Sultan: Adventures among the Masai and Other Tribes of East Africa (Arena Publishing Company, 1892); Isaacs, Nathaniel, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa, Descriptive of the Zoolus, Their Manners, Customs, Etc., Etc., with a Sketch of Natal (Edward Churton, 1836); Lugard, Frederick D., The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (Frank Cass, 1922); Vail, Leroy, ed., The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (James Currey, 1989).

On the psychology of colonialism and decolonizing the mind, see Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks (Grove Press, 1967); Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014 [1970]); Memmi, Albert, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Orion Press, 1965); Nandy, Ashis, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism (Oxford University Press, 1983); and Thiong’o, Ngũgĩ wa, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (East African Educational Publishers, 1981).

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