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Africa, Fourth Edition

Edited by Maria Grosz-Ngaté, John H. Hanson, and Patrick O'Meara

Publication Year: 2014

Since the publication of the first edition in 1977, Africa has established itself as a leading resource for teaching, business, and scholarship. This fourth edition has been completely revised and focuses on the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Africa. The volume emphasizes contemporary culture–civil and social issues, art, religion, and the political scene–and provides an overview of significant themes that bear on Africa's place in the world. Historically grounded, Africa provides a comprehensive view of the ways that African women and men have constructed their lives and engaged in collective activities at the local, national, and global levels.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

More than fifteen years have passed since the third edition of Africa was published. Much has changed in Africa, in the continent’s relations with the world, and in scholarship during the intervening years. Our vision for this edition is to focus on contemporary Africa in all its dynamism and diversity, to emphasize African agency and resourcefulness, and to stress social pro cesses as well as institutions...

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pp. 1-6

Africa has moved dynamically into the twenty- first century. It has more mobile phone users than the United States, for example, and cables placed along its Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts recently have expanded broadband internet access. Africa still has some of the poorest countries in the world, but it also has six of the world’s ten fastest- growing economies of the past de cade. Africans increasingly are city...

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1. Africa: A Geographic Frame

James Delehanty

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pp. 7-31

Africa is a continent, the second-largest after Asia. It contains fifty-four countries, several of them vast. Each of Africa’s biggest countries— Algeria, Congo, and Sudan— is about three times the size of Texas, four times that of France. Africa could hold 14 Greenlands, 20 Alaskas, 71 Californias, or 125 Britains. Newcomers to the study of Africa often are surprised by the simple matter of the...

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2. Legacies of the Past: Themes in African History

John Akare Aden and John H. Hanson

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pp. 32-55

Africa and its peoples have a long and distinguished history. The earliest evidence for humankind is found on the continent, and some of the fi rst successful efforts to domesticate plants and produce metals involved African pioneers and innovators. Africans constructed complex societies, some with elaborate political hierarchies and others with dynamic governance systems without titular authorities...

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3. Social Relations: Family, Kinship, and Community

Maria Grosz- Ngaté

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pp. 56-82

News accounts of violent conflict in Africa frequently make reference to “tribe” and “tribalism” as potent ingredients of discord. The use of “tribe” in the African context is a legacy of colonialism and the research of early anthropologists. Anthropologists wanted to know how African societies without centralized leadership maintained order and stability, while colonial officials demarcated African societies...

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4. Making a Living: African Livelihoods

Gracia Clark and Katherine Wiley

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pp. 83-102

Impressive tenacity and ingenuity enable Africans to survive and even prosper under extremely challenging circumstances. The widespread stereotype of the passive victim crumbles away in the face of Africans’ incessant efforts to protect their families’ interests and ensure security and progress for the next generation. It is a struggle that some people shirk and that many do not win. Even so, people’s agency

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5. Religions in Africa

John H. Hanson

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pp. 103-122

Spirit possessions, harvest festivals, and other activities associated with African traditional religions (or religions with African roots) remain vital, but attendance at Christian churches and Muslim mosques in Africa has increased significantly during the last century. From 1900 to 2010 the number of Christians in Africa grew from less than 10 million to 470 million, more than 20 percent of the world...

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6. Urban Africa: Lives and Projects

Karen Tranberg Hansen

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pp. 123-139

In Africa and everywhere else, cities are where the action is. Cities are gateways to the global world, the prime sites for globalization’s translation into local understandings and experiences. This urban global exposure demands that scholars of urban life in Africa pay attention to people’s engagements with a diverse sweep of...

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7. Health, Illness, and Healing in African Societies

Tracy J. Luedke

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pp. 140-160

In African societies, as elsewhere in the world, health and illness are experienced both at the level of the individual body and at the level of the social body. Individual suffering often reveals social structures and tensions, for example when a child’s illness strains family relationships or when a treatable disease proves fatal...

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8. Visual Arts in Africa

Patrick McNaughton and Diane Pelrine

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pp. 161-186

African art has been made for many thousands of years, undergoing numerous major and often dramatic changes through the centuries and right up until today. Its forms and materials, meanings and functions have always been tremendously varied, deeply imaginative, and dynamically part of people’s individual and social...

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9. African Music Flows

Daniel B. Reed and Ruth M. Stone

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pp. 187-208

A man walked down the street in the busy Adjame marketplace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in West Africa. Amid the sounds of the street— honking horns, ringing cell phones, goat cries, people’s’ voices— he heard the latest hit song by reggae singer Tiken Jah Fakoly drifting toward him from a CD seller’s stall in the market...

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10. Literature in Africa

Eileen Julien

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pp. 209-232

When most Americans and Europeans use the expression “African literature,” they are referring to the poetry, plays, and novels written by Africans that reach Western and Northern shores. These have typically been written in English, French, and, increasingly, Portuguese. If one takes the long or broad view, however...

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11. African Film

Akin Adesokan

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pp. 233-249

It is a truism of African cinema that one cannot productively discuss the films that make up the field without keeping in mind the social and economic conditions under which they are made. Fifty years after the first feature film to be written, produced, and directed by an African, and with this cinematic tradition becoming as globally important an art form as African literature and the Afropop component of...

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12. African Politics and the Future of Democracy

Amos Sawyer, Lauren M. MacLean, and Carolyn E. Holmes

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pp. 250-274

African political systems have a long history that substantially predates the arrival of Europeans in the 1400s or the political boundaries of nation- states found on any current map. The peoples of Africa have organized many different types of political systems and witnessed tremendous political changes over time...

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13. Development in Africa: Tempered Hope

Raymond Muhula and Stephen N. Ndegwa

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pp. 275-292

Sub- Saharan Africa, home to more than eight hundred million people in more than fifty countries, is the least-developed continent in the world. It continues to have relatively low levels of industrialization and urbanization, and instead subsists on narrow economic bases, overly dependent on primary commodities and foreign...

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14. Human Rights in Africa

Takyiwaa Manuh

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pp. 293-314

Human rights norms are critical measures of human existence and development in the contemporary period. Within the community of nations, they have become the third institutional pillar of the United Nations since the setting up of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006. This is a fairly recent development in the long

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15. Print and Electronic Resources

Marion Frank- Wilson

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pp. 315-348

“Digital technologies, in reshaping the information landscape, also have altered the relationship between recorded knowledge and the activities of research and teaching.” This statement by Dan Hazen points to several developments that have shaped the way we conduct research and that are worth keeping in mind before embarking on research in African studies. Electronic information is widely


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pp. 349-352


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pp. 353-362

E-ISBN-13: 9780253013026
E-ISBN-10: 025301302X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253012920

Page Count: 376
Illustrations: 64 b&w illus., 26 color illus., 7 maps
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: Fourth Edition