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"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.
Patterns and Perspectives
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.
Myth and Reality
"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.
How a Continent Changed the World's Game
Four Nineteenth-Century Diaries
In the 1860s, as America waged civil war, several thousand African Americans sought greater freedom by emigrating to the fledgling nation of Liberia. While some argued that the new black republic represented disposal rather than emancipation, a few intrepid men set out to explore their African home. African-American Exploration in West Africa collects the travel diaries of James L. Sims, George L. Seymour, and Benjamin J. K. Anderson, who explored the territory that is now Liberia and Guinea between 1858 and 1874. These remarkable diaries reveal the wealth and beauty of Africa in striking descriptions of its geography, people, flora, and fauna. The dangers of the journeys surface, too -- Seymour was attacked and later died of his wounds, and his companion, Levin Ash, was captured and sold into slavery again. Challenging the notion that there were no black explorers in Africa, these diaries provide unique perspectives on 19th-century Liberian life and life in the interior of the continent before it was radically changed by European colonialism.
A Centenary of Wildlife Filming in Kenya
Jean Hartley, born in Kenya, is acknowledged as being the first to legitimise ìfixingî for wildlife film crews. Over the last 25 years, she has worked on over a thousand films, the vast majority being about wildlife and nature. She features five of the great film makers who all started their careers in Kenya in the1950s, legends whom she is proud to call personal friends. Watching all of their films, and many more, she became fascinated by the history of film making in Kenya and determined to find out when it all started. In this insightful book, she traces the roots of wildlife film back a hundred years, drawing on accounts of the original film makers and the professional hunters who guided those early safaris. She tracks the changes from those grainy, speeded up, silent films through to the technologically perfect High Definition and 3D films that are being made today.
How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania
The TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority), or Freedom Railway, from Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast to the Copperbelt region of Zambia, was instrumental in fostering one of the most sweeping development transitions in postcolonial Africa. Built during the height of the Cold War, the railway was intended to redirect the mineral wealth of the interior away from routes through South Africa and Rhodesia. Rebuffed by Western aid agencies, newly independent Tanzania and Zambia accepted help from China to construct what would become one of Africa's most vital transportation corridors. The book follows the railroad from design and construction to its daily use as a vital means for moving villagers and goods. It tells a story of how transnational interests contributed to environmental change, population movements, and the rise of local and regional enterprise.
Old World and New
The second edition of this landmark work is enhanced by new chapters on Ogun worship in the New World. From reviews of the first edition:
"... an ethnographically rich contribution to the historical understanding of West African culture, as well as an exploration of the continued vitality of that culture in the changing environments of the Americas." -- African Studies Review
"... leav[es] the reader with a sense of the vitality, dynamism, and complexity of Ogun and the cultural contexts in which he thrives.... magnificent contribution to the literature on Ogun, Yoruba culture, African religions, and the African diaspora." -- International Journal of Historical Studies
The Bastardization of Cameroon
Africa?s Political Wastelands explores and confirms the fact that because of irresponsible, corrupt, selfish, and unpatriotic kleptocrats parading as leaders, the ultimate breakdown of order has become the norm in African nations, especially those south of the Sahara. The result is the virtual annihilation of once thriving and proud nations along with the citizenry who are transformed into wretches, vagrants, and in the extreme, refugees. Doh uses Cameroon as an exemplary microcosm to make this point while still holding imperialist ambitions largely responsible for the status quo in Africa. Ultimately, in the hope of jumpstarting the process, he makes pertinent suggestions on turning the tide on the continent.