African studies, at least in its northern versions, has historically been about mediating Africa to the rest of the world. Those of us who teach in the United States are still stalked by battles from the 1960s about whether or not the study of Africa is intellectually viable; many of us claim that the real struggle is against stereotypes and correcting racist myths about Africa. Indeed, the syllabus for my undergraduate African history survey has in its introduction a few lines about how the stereotypes about nineteenth-century Africa—tribal warfare, superstition, poverty and disease—have hindered our ability to understand Africa's past and present. In their research, scholars have grappled—in varying degrees of course—with the question of how to represent Africa, and how to translate experience there to the rest of the world. Over the last forty years, this has meant some impressive apologies for repressive regimes and some imaginative accounts of social and economic conditions. If only one looked closely enough, many argued, one could see civil society/creative outpourings/new social arrangements emerging amidst growing poverty and disappointment. Such statements are anything but cynical, however: they are as much a part of the struggle against the older stereotypes as my upper division survey course claims to be. We are wary of showing an Africa that others might think awash with odd beliefs, or the site of meaningless violence, or as having politics that are more corrupt than consensual. Besides, what we study in Africa has been the subject of much criticism within the field, and many scholars also struggle against claims that we are exoticizing Africa, or, as in a famous critique of a Rhodes-Livingstone Institute anthropologist (see Ferguson, 28–29), that we study what is irrelevant to African lives—like leisure—instead of the colonial oppression under which Africans toiled. Many scholars have taken this critique quite seriously, and have approached the study of African songs, gossip, and sexuality with some defensiveness; others have focused on colonialism and its myriad evils to the point that independent Africa (i.e., the last thirty to forty years) is rarely an object of study in and of itself, but instead is the direct result of colonialism (i.e., the colonial legacy). The result has been at best linear, and at worst paternalistic. How Africans understand their own contemporary dilemmas has rarely been an object of enquiry.