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African Studies Review

Vol. 48 (2005) through current issue

African Studies Review, a multi-disciplinary scholarly journal published by the African Studies Association, contains articles based on original research and analysis of Africa as well as book reviews three times annually. It encourages scholarly debates across disciplines. The editing of the African Studies Review is supported by Five Colleges, Inc., a consortium representing Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The African Studies Review is edited by Ralph Faulkingham of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Elliot Fratkin of Smith College, and Mitzi Goheen and Sean Redding of Amherst College. John Lemly of Mount Holyoke College serves as book review editor. Manuscripts & correspondence concerning manuscripts should be sent to: African Studies Review, 706 Herter Hall, 161 Presidents Drive, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01003. Email: asr@anthro.umass.edu. The African Studies Review web site is http://www.umass.edu/anthro/asr/.

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African Tales

Compiled by Harold Scheub

The latest work from Harold Scheub, one of the world's leading scholars of African folktales, is the broadest collection yet assembled with tales from the entire continent of Africa, north to south. It brings together mythic, fantastic, and coming-of-age tales, some transcribed more than a hundred years ago, others dating to modern-day Africa. Scheub includes the work of storytellers from major African language groups, as well as many storytellers whose work is not often heard outside of Africa. This anthology offers a classroom-ready collection that should appeal to any scholar of African literature and culture. Realizing that these tales are part of a dying art, Scheub writes for the inner ear in everyone, bringing an oral tradition to life in written form.

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African Video Movies and Global Desires

A Ghanaian History

Carmela Garritano

African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.

African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.

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African Women Writing Resistance

An Anthology of Contemporary Voices

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

African Women Writing Resistance is the first transnational anthology to focus on women’s strategies of resistance to the challenges they face in Africa today.  The anthology brings together personal narratives, testimony, interviews, short stories, poetry, performance scripts, folktales, and lyrics. Thematically organized, it presents women’s writing on such issues as intertribal and interethnic conflicts, the degradation of the environment, polygamy, domestic abuse, the controversial traditional practice of female genital cutting, Sharia law, intergenerational tensions, and emigration and exile.
    Contributors include internationally recognized authors and activists such as Wangari Maathai and Nawal El Saadawi, as well as a host of vibrant new voices from all over the African continent and from the African diaspora. Interdisciplinary in scope, this collection provides an excellent introduction to contemporary African women’s literature and highlights social issues that are particular to Africa but are also of worldwide concern.  It is an essential reference for students of African studies, world literature, anthropology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and women’s studies.

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After 50 Years: The Promised Land is Still Too Far! 1961 - 2011

The late Julius Kambarage Nyerere was nicknamed ìMusaî (Moses) during the later, post-independence years for leading his people from slavery and guiding them toward a free land of prosperity ñ the Promised Land. The Tanzanian odyssey chronicled in this book, which first appeared ten years ago as Tanzanians to the Promised Land, has been updated with new research. The author- also an engineer and a journalist- offers an enlightened and unbiased discussion of the journey and both sides of the contributions - successes and failures - made by former presidents and their systems of administration: the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, Alhajj Ali H. Mwinyi, and Mr. Benjamin W. Mkapa. Tanzaniansí hopes and expectations of the incumbent president, H.E. Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, are also discussed. It is not intended as a political campaign of any kind, for any party or any individual. As a brief, yet comprehensive guide to the understanding of our nationís political and economic history, it puts forward suggestions concerning important areas of the country's economic development. Nyerere unfortunately didnít live to see his people arrive at the hoped-for destination, and I. J. Werremaís original inspiration to write, at forty years of independence, is sustained because after fifty years The Promised Land is Still Too Far.

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After Apartheid

Reinventing South Africa?

This is the first book to offer a thoroughgoing assessment of South Africa from its epochal transition to democracy two decades ago, up through the 2009 elections. Examining politics, the economy, public health, the rule of law, language, literature, and the media, the book will interest students not only of South Africa but of democratic consolidation, middle-income economies, highly unequal societies, multi-ethnic societies, and the AIDS pandemic.

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Against the Odds

A History of Zimbabwe Project

1978: In Rhodesia, the Internal Settlement led to the creation of a coalition government. Smith had, however, neither capitulated nor abandoned his belief in white superiority, and thousands of people fled across the countryís borders.In England, a group of missionaries, supported by the Catholic Institute for International Relations, formed a steering group that was to become the Zimbabwe Project. Originally an educational fund to support exiled young Zimbabweans, it shifted focus toward humanitarian assistance to refugees in the region.1981: The Zimbabwe Project Trust, a child of the war, came home, and its director, Judith Todd, started mapping the route that it would follow for the next thirty years.ZimPro ñ as it came to be known ñ began its work with ex-combatants, assisting with their education, skills training and co-operative development, and producing a news bulletin. In terms of funding, courage, and creative programming, it became a giant in the countryís development landscape, but it has had to negotiate many political, financial and philosophical minefields on the way. Against The Odds offers a rare insight into workings of an NGO on the frontline. With a cast of larger-than-life characters, it also offers a drama of Zimbabweís first thirty years and provides insights and lessons which will benefit everyone concerned with development, and provide historians with another important lens through which to view the past.

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The Age of Garvey

How a Jamaican Activist Created a Mass Movement and Changed Global Black Politics

Adam Ewing

Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey (1887–1940) organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Harlem in 1917. By the early 1920s, his program of African liberation and racial uplift had attracted millions of supporters, both in the United States and abroad. The Age of Garvey presents an expansive global history of the movement that came to be known as Garveyism. Offering a groundbreaking new interpretation of global black politics between the First and Second World Wars, Adam Ewing charts Garveyism’s emergence, its remarkable global transmission, and its influence in the responses among African descendants to white supremacy and colonial rule in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Delving into the organizing work and political approach of Garvey and his followers, Ewing shows that Garveyism emerged from a rich tradition of pan-African politics that had established, by the First World War, lines of communication among black intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic. Garvey’s legacy was to reengineer this tradition as a vibrant and multifaceted mass politics. Ewing looks at the people who enabled Garveyism’s global spread, including labor activists in the Caribbean and Central America, community organizers in the urban and rural United States, millennial religious revivalists in central and southern Africa, welfare associations and independent church activists in Malawi and Zambia, and an emerging generation of Kikuyu leadership in central Kenya. Moving away from the images of quixotic business schemes and repatriation efforts, The Age of Garvey demonstrates the consequences of Garveyism’s international presence and provides a dynamic and unified framework for understanding the movement, during the interwar years and beyond.

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Al Qaeda Declares War

The African Embassy Bombings and America’s Search for Justice

Tod Hoffman

Three years before the events of 9/11, Osama bin Laden sent al Qaeda suicide bombers on a coordinated attack to destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. That day, August 7, 1998, more than two hundred people were killed and thousands were wounded. Responding immediately, the FBI launched the largest international investigation in its history. Within months, suspects were arrested in six countries. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted twenty-two individuals, including the elusive bin Laden. In February 2001 a landmark trial of four of the accused was held in Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Al Qaeda Declares War: The African Embassy Bombings and America’s Search for Justice explores the step-by-step procedures the United States employed in analyzing these attacks, identifying the suspects, tracking down and apprehending them, building a case, and prosecuting them. It is this case that established the legal basis for hunting down bin Laden, and the trial makes for a gripping courtroom drama, in which the robust principles of American justice confront the fanaticism of true believers. Tod Hoffman argues forcefully that the process after the 1998 incident stands in marked contrast to the illegal detention, torture, and abrogation of rights that followed 9/11. Indeed, reverberations from the African embassy bombings continue in the ongoing hunt for perpetrators still at large, and in targeted killings by drones. Al Qaeda Declares War dramatically recounts the terror and bloodshed of that day in Africa and shows that America’s search for justice afterward offers important lessons for today.

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The Americans are Coming!

For more than half a century before World War II, black South Africans and “American Negroes”—a group that included African Americans and black West Indians—established close institutional and personal relationships that laid the necessary groundwork for the successful South African and American antiapartheid movements. Though African Americans suffered under Jim Crow racial discrimination, oppressed Africans saw African Americans as free people who had risen from slavery to success and were role models and potential liberators. Many African Americans, regarded initially by the South African government as “honorary whites” exempt from segregation, also saw their activities in South Africa as a divinely ordained mission to establish “Africa for Africans,” liberated from European empires. The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, the largest black-led movement with two million members and supporters in forty-three countries at its height in the early 1920s, was the most anticipated source of liberation. Though these liberation prophecies went unfulfilled, black South Africans continued to view African Americans as inspirational models and as critical partners in the global antiapartheid struggle. The Americans Are Coming! is a rare case study that places African history and American history in a global context and centers Africa in African Diaspora studies. 

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