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African Intellectuals and Decolonization

Nicholas M. Creary

Publication Year: 2012

The incompleteness of the decolonization struggle is evident in the fact that Africa today remains widely associated with chaos, illness, and disorder. This misconception is a latter-day invocation of the idea of “the white man’s burden,” which was central in providing justifica-tion for the violence of Europe’s military conquest and colonial occupation of Africa. The essays in this collection address the enduring intellectual legacies of European colonialism in Africa. The challenge for African and non-African scholars alike is to establish the fact of African humanity, in all its diversity, and to enable the representation of Africa beyond its historical role as the foil to Western humanity. The significant contribution of this volume is to move the discussion of decolonization in Africa to the postcolonial period, and to begin a post-neocolonial phase in the Academy. All of the essays address topics and themes in African states and societies since those states achieved political independence. African Intellectuals and Decolonization addresses the enduring intellectual legacies of European colonialism in Africa while providing scholarly tools to assist in the ongoing processes of decolonizing the Academy and the African continent more broadly. 

Published by: Ohio University Press

Series: Ohio RIS Africa Series

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-11

In his 1952 study, Peau Noire, Masques Blancs, Frantz Fanon pointedly asked: “Was my freedom not given to me then in order to build the world of the You?”1 Asking this question on the eve of much of Africa’s independence from European colonial occupation, Fanon ...

Part I: Representation and Retrospection

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We Need a Mau Mau in Mississippi

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pp. 15-26

On December 20, 1964, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, Malcolm X declared, “Oginga Odinga [the vice president of recently liberated Kenya] is not passive. He’s not meek. He’s not humble. He’s not nonviolent. But he’s free.” This fact was part of a larger ...

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pp. 27-36

In 1958, Ghanaian prime minister Kwame Nkrumah maintained before the African People’s Conference that “the independence of Ghana will be meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa. . . . There have been great Empires on this African continent, ...

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Trauma and Narrativity in Aidichie's Half of a Yellow Sun

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pp. 37-65

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun highlights the relevance of trauma theory and the decline of postcolonial Nigerian nationalism that opens narrative space for formerly marginalized voices from the Biafran War.1 As Senan Murray noted, quoting fellow Nigerian ...

Part II: Decolonizing Public Spheres: Conflicts and Negotiations

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The Emergent Self in South African Black Conciousness Literature and Discourse

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pp. 69-82

Submergence and emergence. Spectacle and self. This chapter seeks to historicize a set of assertions about the relationship between selfhood and the public1 evident in South African cultural discourse since the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1970s. These assertions ...

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The Public Life of Reason

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pp. 83-101

The notion that intellectuals have a role to play in social processes customarily draws on Enlightenment ideas that privilege critical rationality as central to the operations of society. In this conception, the use of reason is not confined to experts or educationists in their ...

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Setting the Agenda for Decolonizing African Media Systems

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pp. 102-116

The role of the media in the sociopolitical transformation of any society is never in doubt; in fact, the media have been described as a catalyst for speeding up developmental processes. The media’s capacity to disseminate information, express divergent voices and ...

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The African Renaissance and Discourse Ownership

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pp. 117-134

Africa in the twenty-first century has experienced significant changes and advances toward realizing the African Renaissance. In comparison to the immediate postindependence period of the late 1980s and early 1990s when political instability was the norm, ...

Part III: Decolonizing Knowledge: Intellectual Imperatives and Epistemic Dialogues

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Decolonization and the Practice of Philosophy

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pp. 137-159

What has been, to date, the character of African decolonization, and how is it related to the practice of philosophy? In engaging this double question what I hope to do, at least in outline, is to look at the actuality of decolonization as it has unfolded thus far, and examine the ...

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Beyond Gendercentric Models

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pp. 160-179

Gendercentric models are rife in African Studies, and African art historical studies are no exception. Approaches that assume a genderdichotomized view of society are necessarily male-dominant, because in our time, patriarchy is the main expression of gender ...


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pp. 181-183

E-ISBN-13: 9780896804869
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896802834

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Ohio RIS Africa Series