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Ghana on the Go

African Mobility in the Age of Motor Transportation

Jennifer Hart

As early as the 1910s, African drivers in colonial Ghana understood the possibilities that using imported motor transport could further the social and economic agendas of a diverse array of local agents, including chiefs, farmers, traders, fishermen, and urban workers. Jennifer Hart's powerful narrative of auto-mobility shows how drivers built on old trade routes to increase the speed and scale of motorized travel. Hart reveals that new forms of labor migration, economic enterprise, cultural production, and social practice were defined by autonomy and mobility and thus shaped the practices and values that formed the foundations of Ghanaian society today. Focusing on the everyday lives of individuals who participated in this century of social, cultural, and technological change, Hart comes to a more sensitive understanding of the ways in which these individuals made new technology meaningful to their local communities and associated it with their future aspirations.

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Ghana Studies

Vol. 17 (2014) through current issue

Ghana Studies is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal of scholarly work on Ghana that appears annually. Past issues have included contributions from disciplines including African Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Communication, English, Film and Media Studies, Gender and Sexualities Studies, History, Legal Studies, Performance Studies, Political Science, and Sociology.

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Hadija's Story

Diaspora, Gender, and Belonging in the Cameroon Grassfields

Harmony O'Rourke

In 1952, a woman named Hadija was brought to trial in an Islamic courtroom in the Cameroon Grassfields on a charge of bigamy. Quickly, however, the court proceedings turned to the question of whether she had been the wife or the slave-concubine of her deceased husband. In tandem with other court cases of the day, Harmony O'Rourke illuminates a set of contestations in which marriage, slavery, morality, memory, inheritance, status, and identity were at stake for Muslim Hausa migrants, especially women. As she tells Hadija's story, O'Rourke disrupts dominant patriarchal and colonial narratives that have emphasized male activities and projects to assert cultural distinctiveness, and she brings forward a new set of women’s issues involving concerns for personal prosperity, the continuation of generations, and Islamic religious expectations in communities separated by long distances.

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Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Catherine M. Coles and Beverly Mack

    The Hausa are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, with populations in Nigeria, Niger, and Ghana.  Their long history of city-states and Islamic caliphates, their complex trading economies, and their cultural traditions have attracted the attention of historians, political economists, linguists, and anthropologists. The large body of scholarship on Hausa society, however, has assumed the subordination of women to men.
    Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century refutes the notion that Hausa women are pawns in a patriarchal Muslim society.  The contributors, all of whom have done field research in Hausaland, explore the ways Hausa women have balanced the demands of Islamic expectations and Western choices as their society moved from a precolonial system through British colonial administration to inclusion in the modern Nigerian nation. This volume examines the roles of a wide variety of women, from wives and workers to political activists and mythical figures, and it emphasizes that women have been educators and spiritual leaders in Hausa society since precolonial times.  From royalty to slaves and concubines, in traditional Hausa cities and in newer towns, from the urban poor to the newly educated elite, the "invisible women" whose lives are documented here demonstrate that standard accounts of Hausa society must be revised.
    Scholars of Hausa and neighboring West African societies will find in this collection a wealth of new material and a model of how research on women can be integrated with general accounts of Hausa social, religious, political, and economic life. For students and scholars looking at gender and women's roles cross-culturally, this volume provides an invaluable African perspective.

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Highlife Saturday Night

Popular Music and Social Change in Urban Ghana

Nate Plageman

Highlife Saturday Night captures the vibrancy of Saturday nights in Ghana—when musicians took to the stage and dancers took to the floor—in this penetrating look at musical leisure during a time of social, political, and cultural change. Framing dance band "highlife" music as a central medium through which Ghanaians negotiated gendered and generational social relations, Nate Plageman shows how popular music was central to the rhythm of daily life in a West African nation. He traces the history of highlife in urban Ghana during much of the 20th century and documents a range of figures that fueled the music's emergence, evolution, and explosive popularity. This book is generously enhanced by audiovisual material on the Ethnomusicology Multimedia website.

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Igbo in the Atlantic World

African Origins and Diasporic Destinations

Edited by Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku

The Igbo are one of the most populous ethnic groups in Nigeria and are perhaps best known and celebrated in the work of Chinua Achebe. In this landmark collection on Igbo society and arts, Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku have compiled a detailed and innovative examination of the Igbo experience in Africa and in the diaspora. Focusing on institutions and cultural practices, the volume covers the enslavement, middle passage, and American experience of the Igbo as well as their return to Africa and aspects of Igbo language, society, and cultural arts. By employing a variety of disciplinary perspectives, this volume presents a comprehensive view of how the Igbo were integrated into the Atlantic world through the slave trade and slavery, the transformations of Igbo identities and culture, and the strategies for resistance employed by the Igbo in the New World. Moving beyond descriptions of generic African experiences, this collection includes 21 essays by prominent scholars throughout the world.

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The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970

John J. Stremlau

Biafra's declaration of independence on May 30, 1967, precipitated a civil war with important implications for the territorial integrity of all newly independent African states. Allegations of genocide commanded the world's attention and brought forth unprecedented humanitarian intervention. This full account of the internationalization of that conflict draws on hitherto confidential records and more than two hundred interviews with foreign policymakers, including Yakubu Gowon and C. Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Originally published in 1977.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Izon of the Niger Delta

The Izon of the Niger Delta is a global history of the Izon, Ijo or Ijaw people from their homelands in the Niger Delta, through Nigeria, the West and Central African coastlands, and in the African diaspora into Europe, the America and the Caribbean. It is a preliminary study that raise questions and opens ground for further research. The book provides chapters that take an overview of issues on the environment of the Niger Delta, an analysis of the Ijo population, the language, culture, resources, history and linkage to the rest of Nigeria and the world. In effect these chapters provide a synopsis of the Ijo in the past and their situation in the present.

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Journal of West African History

Vol. 1 (2015) through current issue

The Journal of West African History (JWAH) is a new, important, initiative in the field of African Studies published by Michigan State University Press in collaboration with Michigan State University’s African Studies Center and History Department. An interdisciplinary peer-reviewed research journal, JWAH is located at the cutting edge of new scholarship on the social, cultural, economic, and political history of West Africa and publishes the highest quality articles on West African history. It fills a representational gap by providing a forum for serious scholarship and debate on women and gender, sexuality, slavery, oral history, popular and public culture, and religion.

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Journey of Song

Public Life and Morality in Cameroon

Clare A. Ignatowski

During the long dry season, Tupuri men and women in northern Cameroon gather in gurna camps outside their villages to learn the songs that will be performed at widely attended celebrations to honor the year's dead. The gurna provides a space for them to join together in solidarity to care for their cattle, fatten their bodies, and share local stories. But why does the gurna remain meaningful in the modern nation-state of Cameroon? In Journey of Song, Clare A. Ignatowski explores the vitality of gurna ritual in the context of village life and urban neighborhoods. She shows how Tupuri songs borrow from political discourse on democracy in Cameroon and make light of human foibles, publicize scandals, promote the prestige of dancers, and provide an arena for powerful social commentary on the challenges of modern life. In the context of broad social change in Africa, Ignatowski explores the creative and communal process by which local livelihoods and identities are validated in dance and song.

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