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The French Army and Its African Soldiers

The Years of Decolonization

Ruth Ginio

As part of France’s opposition to the independence of its former colonies in the years following World War II, its army remained deeply invested in preventing the decolonization of the territories comprising French West Africa (FWA). Even as late as the 1950s, the French Army clung to the hope that it was possible to retain FWA as a colony, believing that its relations with African soldiers could offer the perfect model for continued ties between France and its West African territories.
 
In The French Army and Its African Soldiers Ruth Ginio examines the French Army’s attempts to win the hearts and souls of the local population at a time of turbulence and uncertainty regarding future relations between the colonizer and colony. Through the prism of the army’s relationship with its African soldiers, Ginio considers how the army’s activities and political position during FWA’s decolonization laid the foundation for France’s continued active presence in some of these territories after independence. This project is the first thorough examination of the French Army’s involvement in West Africa before independence and provides the essential historical background to understanding France’s complex postcolonial military relations with its former territories in Africa.

 
 

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From Excellence to Distinction

The University of Lagos on World's Intellectual Map

This book is a collection of presentations made during the tenure of Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Ope as Vice Chancellor (2000-2007) at the University of Lagos. Included are Matriculation and Convocations speeches delivered by Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Ope himself as well as Inaugural Lectures delivered by various faculty members and guests on a wide range of topics from Biochemistry, Botany, Physiotherapy, Development, Medicine. A brief chapter takes stock of the current state of the University generally while other chapters detail some of the government lobbying carried out by the Vice-Chancellor and his team. A chapter entitled "Town and Gown" record Professor Ibidapo-Ope's addresses to various organisations in Lagos while another records speeches at workshops and seminars such as the Nigerian Sociological Society.

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From Head-Loading to the Iron Horse

Railway Building in Colonial Ghana and the Origins of Tropical Development

International development has its origins in the histories of nineteenth and early twentieth-century European colonisation. What happens when a leading colonial power decides to transform a model tropical colony, relying on head-loading of goods as the predominant form of transport, into a modern market economy on the back of the greatest British industrial ingenuity of the time - railways? In this meticulously researched book, Komla Tsey brings to light the historical origins of a wide range of issues confronting present-day international development researchers and policy-makers, such as technology transfer, wealth creation versus equity of access, and ways to evaluate the benefits of development work, especially across cultures. In the context of the early twenty-first-century international investment interests in resource-rich Africa, Tsey argues, forensic historical research is required to determine the precise nature and scale of the financial and humanitarian injustices committed by British colonialists during the construction of major public works projects. More than providing opportunities to take possible legal actions for reparations, this research should also serve as a reminder to present-day African policy-makers and their international and local business partners that the injustices and blatant abuses of power of the past should never be repeated.

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Frontieres de la citoyennete et violence politique en Cote d'Ivoire

This book seeks to explain the events that have been taking place in C?te d'Ivoire since 1999 and which are commonly referred to as 'la crise ivoirienne' (the Ivorian crisis). It seems that the day to day interpretation of the events did not provide a satisfactory explanation of the deep fracture and that it was necessary to reconsider the essentialist theoretical categories that are striving to impose on us a false view, made cumbersome by ethnocentric prejudices. To avoid falling into the trap of the day to day interpretation of events will require an in-depth questioning of the causes of the foreseen collapse of the Ivorian model. Having a grasp on the historical meaning of facts is required in examining the sequence and interconnection of events which we always need to rule on the historical weight in order to gauge the tragic trend of the social dynamics. While looking for the causes of the social and political rift, the authors of this volume started by asking a central question: How does the weight of the modern Ivorian society formation intervene in the modalities of the actions of individuals and current collectivities? The brutal and violent fracture which the Ivorian social formation underwent brings forth, once again, the issue of collective identities and unveils, at the same time, the challenges related to the incomplete nature of the construction of 'Nation States' in Africa. In fact, it is a mistake to think that the crisis spontaneously started among partisan higher authorities and to ignore that behind the ostentatious declarations on National Unity, pre-colonial groups have not completely melted into the modern 'Nation'. Furthermore, in the process of 'national' social space formation, new social combinations emerge by continuously re-inventing themselves. It seems that the roots of current crises reside in the unprecedented transformation which contemporary African societies have been undergoing.

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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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Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria

Firearms, Culture, and Public Order

Saheed Aderinto

Guns are an enduring symbol of imperialism, whether they are used to impose social order, create ceremonial spectacle, incite panic, or to inspire confidence. In Guns and Society, Saheed Aderinto considers the social, political, and economic history of these weapons in colonial Nigeria. As he transcends traditional notions of warfare and militarization, Aderinto reveals surprising insights into how colonialism changed access to firearms after the 19th century. In doing so, he explores the unusual ways in which guns were used in response to changes in the Nigerian cultural landscape. More Nigerians used firearms for pastime and professional hunting in the colonial period than at any other time. The boom and smoke of gunfire even became necessary elements in ceremonies and political events. Aderinto argues that firearms in the Nigerian context are not simply commodities but are also objects of material culture. Considering guns in this larger context provides a clearer understanding of the ways in which they transformed a colonized society.

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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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