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History > African History

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The 1961 Cameroon Plebiscite. Choice or Betrayal Cover

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The 1961 Cameroon Plebiscite. Choice or Betrayal

Choice or Betrayal

The United Nations-organised plebiscite on 11 February 1961 was one of the most significant events in the history of the southern and northern parts of the British-administered trust territory in Cameroon. John Percival was sent by the then Colonial Office as part of the team to oversee the process. This book captures the story of the plebiscite in all its dimensions and intricacies and celebrates the author's admiration for things African through a series of reminiscences of what life was like in the 1960s, both for the Africans themselves and for John Percival as a very young man. The complex story is also a series of reflections about the effect of the modern world on Africa. It is a thorough, insightful, rich and enlightening first-hand source on a political landmark that has never been told before in this way. In a vivid style with a great sense of humour, Percival's witty, cogent, eyewitness and active-participant account deconstructs the rumours and misrepresentations about the February 1961 Plebiscite which was a prelude to reunification and to the present day politics of 'belonging' in Cameroon. "One of the major merits of this book is to provide us with a deeper insight into the role of those actors who have never been the subject of plebiscite studies, namely the Plebiscite Supervisory Officers." - Piet Konings, African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands John Percival-Anthropologist, Writer, Television Broadcaster of many innovative BBC series on the environment, history and anthropology. As a young graduate he was recruited and sent to serve in the Southern Cameroons as a Plesbiscite Supervisory Officer in 1961. He died in 2005 after a recent return visit to Cameroon with Nigel Wenban-Smith who writes an epilogue. This posthumous memoir has been edited by his wife, Lalage Neal.

Africa After Gender? Cover

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Africa After Gender?

Edited by Catherine M. Cole, Takyiwaa Manuh, and Stephan F. Miescher

Gender is one of the most productive, dynamic, and vibrant areas of Africanist research today. But what is the meaning of gender in an African context? Why does gender usually connote women? Why has gender taken hold in Africa when feminism hasn't? Is gender yet another Western construct that has been applied to Africa however ill-suited and riddled with assumptions? Africa After Gender? looks at Africa now that gender has come into play to consider how the continent, its people, and the term itself have changed. Leading Africanist historians, anthropologists, literary critics, and political scientists move past simple dichotomies, entrenched debates, and polarizing identity politics to present an evolving discourse of gender. They show gender as an applied rather than theoretical tool and discuss themes such as the performance of sexuality, lesbianism, women's political mobilization, the work of gendered NGOs, and the role of masculinity in a gendered world. For activists, students, and scholars, this book reveals a rich and cross-disciplinary view of the status of gender in Africa today.

Contributors are Hussaina J. Abdullah, Nwando Achebe, Susan Andrade, Eileen Boris, Catherine M. Cole, Paulla A. Ebron, Eileen Julien, Lisa A. Lindsay, Adrienne MacIain, Takyiwaa Manuh, Stephan F. Miescher, Helen Mugambi, Gay Seidman, Sylvia Tamale, Bridget Teboh, Lynn M. Thomas, and Nana Wilson-Tagoe.

Africa in Translation Cover

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Africa in Translation

A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814-1945

Sara Pugach

"Africa in Translation is a thoughtful contribution to the literature on colonialism and culture in Germany and will find readers in the fields of German history and German studies as well as appealing to audiences in the large and interdisciplinary fields of colonialism and postcolonialism." ---Jennifer Jenkins, University of Toronto The study of African languages in Germany, or Afrikanistik, originated among Protestant missionaries in the early nineteenth century and was incorporated into German universities after Germany entered the "Scramble for Africa" and became a colonial power in the 1880s. Despite its long history, few know about the German literature on African languages or the prominence of Germans in the discipline of African philology. In Africa in Translation: A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814--1945, Sara Pugach works to fill this gap, arguing that Afrikanistik was essential to the construction of racialist knowledge in Germany. While in other countries biological explanations of African difference were central to African studies, the German approach was essentially linguistic, linking language to culture and national identity. Pugach traces this linguistic focus back to the missionaries' belief that conversion could not occur unless the "Word" was allowed to touch a person's heart in his or her native language, as well as to the connection between German missionaries living in Africa and armchair linguists in places like Berlin and Hamburg. Over the years, this resulted in Afrikanistik scholars using language and culture rather than biology to categorize African ethnic and racial groups. Africa in Translation follows the history of Afrikanistik from its roots in the missionaries' practical linguistic concerns to its development as an academic subject in both Germany and South Africa throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sara Pugach is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Los Angeles. Jacket image: Perthes, Justus. Mittel und Süd-Afrika. Map. Courtesy of the University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library map collection.

The African Diaspora and the Disciplines Cover

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The African Diaspora and the Disciplines

Edited by Tejumola Olaniyan and James H. Sweet

Focusing on the problems and conflicts of doing African diaspora research from various disciplinary perspectives, these essays situate, describe, and reflect on the current practice of diaspora scholarship. Tejumola Olaniyan, James H. Sweet, and the international group of contributors assembled here seek to enlarge understanding of how the diaspora is conceived and explore possibilities for the future of its study. With the aim of initiating interdisciplinary dialogue on the practice of African diaspora studies, they emphasize learning from new perspectives that take advantage of intersections between disciplines. Ultimately, they advocate a fuller sense of what it means to study the African diaspora in a truly global way.

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African Economic History

Vol. 36 (2008) through current issue

African Economic History, published once a year by the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on recent economic change in Africa as well as the colonial and precolonial economic history of the continent.

African Intellectuals and Decolonization Cover

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African Intellectuals and Decolonization

Nicholas M. Creary

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. 

African Material Culture Cover

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African Material Culture

Edited by Mary Jo Arnoldi, Christraud M. Geary, and Kris L. Hardin

"This volume has much to recommend it -- providing fascinating and stimulating insights into many arenas of material culture, many of which still remain only superficially explored in the archaeological literature." -- Archaeological Review

"... a vivid introduction to the topic.... A glimpse into the unique and changing identities in an ever-changing world." -- Come-All-Ye

Fourteen interdisciplinary essays open new perspectives for understanding African societies and cultures through the contextualized study of objects, treating everything from the production of material objects to the meaning of sticks, masquerades, household tools, clothing, and the television set in the contemporary repertoire of African material culture.

African Migrations Cover

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African Migrations

Patterns and Perspectives

Edited by Abdoulaye Kane and Todd H. Leedy

Spurred by major changes in the world economy and in local ecology, the contemporary migration of Africans, both within the continent and to various destinations in Europe and North America, has seriously affected thousands of lives and livelihoods. The contributors to this volume, reflecting a variety of disciplinary perspectives, examine the causes and consequences of this new migration. The essays cover topics such as rural-urban migration into African cities, transnational migration, and the experience of immigrants abroad, as well as the issues surrounding migrant identity and how Africans re-create community and strive to maintain ethnic, gender, national, and religious ties to their former homes.

African Philosophy, Second Edition Cover

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African Philosophy, Second Edition

Myth and Reality

Paulin J. Hountondji. Introduction by Abiola Irele

"Hountondji... writes not as an 'African' philosopher but as a philosopher on Africa.... Hountondji's deep understanding of any civilization as necessarily pluralistic, and often even self-contradicting as it evolves, is simply magisterial.... This is a precious gem of a book for anyone who wishes to reflect on civilization and culture." -- Choice

In this incisive, original exploration of the nature and future of African philosophy, Paulin J. Hountondji attacks a myth popularized by ethnophilosophers such as Placide Tempels and Alexis Kagame that there is an indigenous, collective African philosophy separate and distinct from the Western philosophical tradition. Hountondji contends that ideological manifestations of this view that stress the uniqueness of the African experience are protonationalist reactions against colonialism conducted, paradoxically, in the terms of colonialist discourse. Hountondji argues that a genuine African philosophy must assimilate and transcend the theoretical heritage of Western philosophy and must reflect a rigorous process of independent scientific inquiry. This edition is updated with a new preface in which Hountondji responds to his critics and clarifies misunderstandings about the book's conceptual framework.

African Soccerscapes Cover

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African Soccerscapes

How a Continent Changed the World's Game

Peter Alegi

From Accra and Algiers to Zanzibar and Zululand, Africans have wrested control of soccer from the hands of Europeans, and through the rise of different playing styles, the rich rituals of spectatorship, and the presence of magicians and healers, have turned soccer into a distinctively African activity.
African Soccerscapes explores how Africans adopted soccer for their own reasons and on their own terms. Soccer was a rare form of “national culture” in postcolonial Africa, where stadiums and clubhouses became arenas in which Africans challenged colonial power and expressed a commitment to racial equality and self-determination. New nations staged matches as part of their independence celebrations and joined the world body, FIFA. The Confédération Africaine de Football democratized the global game through antiapartheid sanctions and increased the number of African teams in the World Cup finals. The unfortunate results of this success are the departure of huge numbers of players to overseas clubs and the influence of private commercial interests on the African game. But the growth of the women’s game and South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup also challenge the one-dimensional notion of Africa as a backward, “tribal” continent populated by victims of war, corruption, famine, and disease.

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