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Area and Ethnic Studies > African Studies

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Deep Roots Cover

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Deep Roots

Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora

Edda L. Fields-Black

Mangrove rice farming on West Africa's Rice Coast was the mirror image of tidewater rice plantations worked by enslaved Africans in 18th-century South Carolina and Georgia. This book reconstructs the development of rice-growing technology among the Baga and Nalu of coastal Guinea, beginning more than a millennium before the transatlantic slave trade. It reveals a picture of dynamic pre-colonial coastal societies, quite unlike the static, homogenous pre-modern Africa of previous scholarship. From its examination of inheritance, innovation, and borrowing, Deep Roots fashions a theory of cultural change that encompasses the diversity of communities, cultures, and forms of expression in Africa and the African diaspora.

Defeat Is the Only Bad News Cover

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Defeat Is the Only Bad News

Rwanda under Musinga, 1896–1931

Alison Des Forges

A Rwandan proverb says “Defeat is the only bad news.” For Rwandans living under colonial rule, winning called not only for armed confrontation, but also for a battle of wits—and not only with foreigners, but also with each other. In Defeat Is the Only Bad News Alison Des Forges recounts the ambitions, strategies, and intrigues of an African royal court under Yuhi Musinga, the Rwandan ruler from 1896 to 1931. These were turbulent years for Rwanda, when first Germany and then Belgium pursued an aggressive plan of colonization there. At the time of the Europeans’ arrival, Rwanda was also engaged in a succession dispute after the death of one of its most famous kings. Against this backdrop, the Rwandan court became the stage for a drama of Shakespearean proportions, filled with deceit, shrewd calculation, ruthless betrayal, and sometimes murder.

            Historians who study European expansion typically focus on interactions between colonizers and colonized; they rarely attend to relations among the different factions inhabiting occupied lands. Des Forges, drawing on oral histories and extensive archival research, reveals how divisions among different groups in Rwanda shaped their responses to colonial governments, missionaries, and traders. Rwandans, she shows, used European resources to extend their power, even as they sought to preserve the autonomy of the royal court. Europeans, for their part, seized on internal divisions to advance their own goals. Des Forges’s vividly narrated history, meticulously edited and introduced by David Newbury, provides a deep context for understanding the Rwandan civil war a century later.
 

Democracy and development in Mali  Cover

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Democracy and development in Mali

R. James. Bingen

Mali, a country rich with history and culture, but one of the poorest in the world, emerged in the 1990s as one of Africa's most vibrant democracies. Strengthened by bold political and economic reforms at home, Mali has emerged as a leader in African peacekeeping efforts. How has such a transition taken place? How have these changes built on Mali's rich heritage? These are the questions that the contributors to this volume have addressed. During the past twenty-five years, the scholarly research and applied development work of Michigan State University faculty and students in Mali represents the most significant combined, long-term, and continuing contribution of any group of university faculty in the United States or Europe to the study of Malian society, economy, and politics. The applied nature of much of this work has resulted in a significant number of working papers, reports, and conference presentations. This volume represents a coherent and connected set of essays from one American university with a widely known and highly respected role in African development. While the essays identify and review Mali's unique historical and contemporary path to democracy and development, they also contribute to the advancement of theoretical knowledge about African development. Contributors: R. James Bingen, Andrew F. Clark, John Uniack Davis, Niama Nango Dembélé, Salifou Bakary Diarra, Cheikh Oumar Diarrah, Georges Dimithè, Josué Dioné, Maria Grosz- Ngaté, John H. Hanson, Adame Ba Konaré, Ghislaine Lydon, Nancy Mezey, David Rawson, David Robinson, John M. Staatz, and James Tefft.

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The Demographics of Empire

The Colonial Order and the Creation of Knowledge

Karl Ittmann

The Demographics of Empire is a collection of essays examining the multifaceted nature of the colonial science of demography in the last two centuries. The contributing scholars of Africa and the British and French empires focus on three questions: How have historians, demographers, and other social scientists understood colonial populations? What were the demographic realities of African societies and how did they affect colonial systems of power? Finally, how did demographic theories developed in Europe shape policies and administrative structures in the colonies? The essays approach the subject as either broad analyses of major demographic questions in Africa’s history or focused case studies that demonstrate how particular historical circumstances in individual African societies contributed to differing levels of fertility, mortality, and migration. Together, the contributors to The Demographics of Empire question demographic orthodoxy, and in particular the assumption that African societies in the past exhibited a single demographic regime characterized by high fertility and high mortality.

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Dictionary of African Filmmakers

Roy Armes

Compiled by eminent Africanist film scholar Roy Armes, Dictionary of African Filmmakers is an inclusive, comprehensive treatment of films and filmmaking on the African continent. The dictionary covers African feature filmmaking from the first locally produced films to today's thriving film industry, listing 5,415 films made by 1,253 filmmakers in 37 countries. Part 1 includes information on filmmakers and provides date and place of birth, training or film experience, other creative activities, and a list of feature films produced. Part 2 presents a national chronology, filmography, and bibliography for each country producing feature films. Part 3 indexes film titles and provides translations into English or French where appropriate. This book is an essential reference tool for anyone who wants to know more about the vibrant and exciting world of African film.

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Divining without Seeds

The Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in Africa

Infectious disease is the most common cause of illness and death in Africa, yet health practitioners routinely fail to identify causative microorganisms in most patients. As a result, patients often do not receive the right medicine in time to cure them promptly even when such medicine is available, outbreaks are larger and more devastating than they should be, and the impact of control interventions is difficult to measure. Wrong prescriptions and prolonged infections amount to needless costs for patients and for health systems. In Divining without Seeds, Iruka N. Okeke forcefully argues that laboratory diagnostics are essential to the effective practice of medicine in Africa.

The diversity of endemic life-threatening infections and limited public health resources in tropical Africa make the need for basic laboratory diagnostic support even more acute than in other parts of the world. This book gathers compelling case studies of inadequate diagnoses of diseases ranging from fevers-including malaria-to respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases. The inherited and widely prevalent health clinic model, which excludes or diminishes the hospital laboratory, is flawed, to often devastating effect. Fortunately, there are new technologies that make it possible to inexpensively implement testing at the primary care level. Divining without Seeds makes clear that routine use of appropriate diagnostic support should be part of every drug delivery plan in Africa and that diagnostic development should be given high priority.

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Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial

Emily S. Burrill

Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa reveals the ways in which domestic space and domestic relationships take on different meanings in African contexts that extend the boundaries of family obligation, kinship, and dependency. The term domestic violence encompasses kin-based violence, marriage-based violence, gender-based violence, as well as violence between patrons and clients who shared the same domestic space. As a lived experience and as a social and historical unit of analysis, domestic violence in colonial and postcolonial Africa is complex. Using evidence drawn from Subsaharan Africa, the chapters explore the range of domestic violence in Africa’s colonial past and its present, including taxation and the insertion of the household into the broader structure of colonial domination. African histories of domestic violence demand that scholars and activists refine the terms and analyses and pay attention to the historical legacies of contemporary problems. This collection brings into conversation historical, anthropological, legal, and activist perspectives on domestic violence in Africa and fosters a deeper understanding of the problem of domestic violence, the limits of international human rights conventions, and local and regional efforts to address the issue.

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Domesticating a Religious Import

The Jesuits and the Inculturation of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, 1879-1980

Nicholas M. Creary

Catholic theologians have developed the relatively new term inculturationto discuss the old problem of adapting the church universal to specific local cultures. Europeans needed a thousand years to inculturate Christianity from its Judaic roots. Africans' efforts to make the church their own followed a similar process but in less than a century. Until now, there has been no book-length examination of the Catholic church's pastoral mission in Zimbabwe or of African Christians' efforts to inculturate the church.Ranging over the century after Jesuit missionaries first settled in what is now Zimbabwe, this enlightening book reveals two simultaneous and intersecting processes: the Africanization of the Catholic Church by African Christians and the discourse of inculturation promulgated by the Church. With great attention to detail, it places the history of African Christianity within the broader context of the history of religion in Africa. This illuminating work will contribute to current debates about the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa.

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The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard

From South Africa to the World

Albert Wertheim

"Albert Wertheim's study of Fugard's plays is both extremely insightful and beautifully written... This book is aimed not only at teachers, students, scholars, and performers of Fugard but also at the person who simply loves going to see a Fugard play at the theatre." -- Nancy Topping Bazin, Eminent Scholar and Professor Emerita, Old Dominion University

Athol Fugard is considered one of the most brilliant, powerful, and theatrically astute of modern dramatists. The energy and poignancy of his work have their origins in the institutionalized racism of his native South Africa, and more recently in the issues facing a new South Africa after apartheid. Albert Wertheim analyzes the form and content of Fugard's dramas, showing that they are more than a dramatic chronicle of South African life and racial problems. Beginning with the specifics of his homeland, Fugard's plays reach out to engage more far-reaching issues of human relationships, race and racism, and the power of art to evoke change. The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard demonstrates how Fugard's plays enable us to see that what is performed on stage can also be performed in society and in our lives; how, inverting Shakespeare, Athol Fugard makes his stage the world.

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The Dynamics and Contradictions of Evangelisation in Africa

An essay on the Kom experience

This book critically discusses missionary Christianity and colonization in Africa as twin enterprises with a common ambition. While the colonialist set out to invest capital and reap profit, the missionary desire was to tend and turn African souls from damnation. It was this desire that drove the missionaries into the interior, propelled by the belief that no land was too remote to escape their attention and vigilance. It equally kept missionary zeal buoyant. The clarification of the concept of salvation within the Roman Catholic Church during the Vatican II Council set in motion the current lethargy that has in some places crippled the mission itself. In retrospect, one can begin to wonder why Africans became Christians. What reasons motivated the early adherents to cling to this foreign religion? Were there some internal deficiencies in African traditional religions, which the Africans hoped to remedy by joining the new religion? Or was it just part of the wholesale flirting with whatever was foreign and perceived to be modern? What baits were used by the missionaries to entice Africans? Christianity posed a danger to many of the time-honoured answers to African problems. These were the ìvaluesî Africans converting to Christianity were expected to abandon. Why have Christians continually returned to their abandoned roots in time of crisis? This moving, well argued, richly documented and empirically substantiated study concludes by cautioning against the stubborn drive at radical conversion to Christianity with scant regard to the imperatives of enculturation.

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