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The Art of Conversion

Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo

Cécile Fromont

Between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, the west central African kingdom of Kongo practiced Christianity and actively participated in the Atlantic world as an independent, cosmopolitan realm. Drawing on an expansive and largely unpublished set of objects, images, and documents, Fromont examines the advent of Kongo Christian visual culture and traces its development across four centuries marked by war, the Atlantic slave trade, and, finally, the rise of nineteenth-century European colonialism. By offering an extensive analysis of the religious, political, and artistic innovations through which the Kongo embraced Christianity, Fromont approaches the country's conversion as a dynamic process that unfolded across centuries.

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Aspects of Colonial Tanzania History

Aspects of Colonial Tanzanian History is a collection of essays that examines the lives and experiences of both colonizers and the colonized during colonial rule in what is today known as Tanzania. Dr. Mbogoni examines a range of topics hitherto unexplored by scholars of Tanzania history, namely: excessive alcohol consumption (the sundowners); adultery and violence among the colonial officials; attitudes to inter-racial sexual liaisons especially between Europeans and Africans; game-poaching; European settler vigilantism; radio broadcasting; film production and the nature of Arab slavery in Zanzibar. A particularly noteworthy case related to European vigilantism is examined: the trial of Oldus Elishira, a Maasai, for the murder of a European settler farmer in 1955. The victim, Harold M. Stuchbery, was speared to death when he attempted to ìarrestî a group of Maasai young men who were passing through his farm. The event highlighted the differences in the concepts of justice held by Maasai and the imported justice systems from the colonizers. It also raised vexing questions about the colonial judgeís acquittal of Oldus Elishira, while the Maasai who should have been satisfied with that decision decided to take it upon themselves to mete out an appropriate punishment to Elshira instead of total acquittal, and to compensate Mrs. Stuchbery for the death of her husband by giving her a number of heads of cattle.

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The Atlantic Slave Trade

A Census

Philip D. Curtin

Curtin combines modern research and statistical methods with his broad knowledge of the field to present the first book-length quantitative analysis of the Atlantic slave trade.  Its basic evidence suggests revision of currently held opinions concerning the place of the slave trade in the economies of the Old World nations and their American colonies.

“Curtin’s work will not only be the starting point for all future research on the slave trade and comparative slavery, but will become an indispensable reference for anyone interested in Afro-American studies.”—Journal of American History

“Curtin has produced a stimulating monograph, the product of immaculate scholarship, against which all past and future studies will have to be judged.”—Journal of American Studies

“Professor Curtin’s new book is up to his customary standard of performance: within the limits he set for himself, The Atlantic Slave Trade could hardly be a better or more important book.”—American Historical Review

 

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The Battle for North Africa

El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

Glyn Harper

In the early years of World War II, Germany shocked the world with a devastating blitzkrieg, rapidly conquered most of Europe, and pushed into North Africa. As the Allies scrambled to counter the Axis armies, the British Eighth Army confronted the experienced Afrika Corps, led by German field marshal Erwin Rommel, in three battles at El Alamein. In the first battle, the Eighth Army narrowly halted the advance of the Germans during the summer of 1942. However, the stalemate left Nazi troops within striking distance of the Suez Canal, which would provide a critical tactical advantage to the controlling force. War historian Glyn Harper dives into the story, vividly narrating the events, strategies, and personalities surrounding the battles and paying particular attention to the Second Battle of El Alamein, a crucial turning point in the war that would be described by Winston Churchill as "the end of the beginning." Moving beyond a simple narrative of the conflict, The Battle for North Africa tackles critical themes, such as the problems of coalition warfare, the use of military intelligence, the role of celebrity generals, and the importance of an all-arms approach to modern warfare.

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Becoming Zimbabwe. A History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008

A History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008

Becoming Zimbabwe is the first comprehensive history of Zimbabwe, spanning the years from 850 to 2008. In 1997, the then Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Morgan Tsvangirai, expressed the need for a 'more open and critical process of writing history in Zimbabwe. ...The history of a nation-in-the-making should not be reduced to a selective heroic tradition, but should be a tolerant and continuing process of questioning and re-examination.' Becoming Zimbabwe tracks the idea of national belonging and citizenship and explores the nature of state rule, the changing contours of the political economy, and the regional and international dimensions of the country's history. In their Introduction, Brian Raftopoulos and Alois Mlambo enlarge on these themes, and Gerald Mazarire's opening chapter sets the pre-colonial background. Sabelo Ndlovu tracks the history up to WW11, and Alois Mlambo reviews developments in the settler economy and the emergence of nationalism leading to UDI in 1965. The politics and economics of the UDI period, and the subsequent war of liberation, are covered by Joesph Mtisi, Munyaradzi Nyakudya and Teresa Barnes. After independence in 1980, Zimbabwe enjoyed a period of buoyancy and hope. James Muzondidya's chapter details the transition 'from buoyancy to crisis', and Brian Raftopoulos concludes the book with an analysis of the decade-long crisis and the global political agreement which followed.

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Being Colonized

The Kuba Experience in Rural Congo, 1880–1960

Jan Vansina

What was it like to be colonized by foreigners? Highlighting a region in central Congo, in the center of sub-Saharan Africa, Being Colonized places Africans at the heart of the story. In a richly textured history that will appeal to general readers and students as well as to scholars, the distinguished historian Jan Vansina offers not just accounts of colonial administrators, missionaries, and traders, but the varied voices of a colonized people. Vansina uncovers the history revealed in local news, customs, gossip, and even dreams, as related by African villagers through archival documents, material culture, and oral interviews.
    Vansina’s case study of the colonial experience is the realm of Kuba, a kingdom in Congo about the size of New Jersey—and two-thirds the size of its colonial master, Belgium. The experience of its inhabitants is the story of colonialism, from its earliest manifestations to its tumultuous end. What happened in Kuba happened to varying degrees throughout Africa and other colonized regions: racism, economic exploitation, indirect rule, Christian conversion, modernization, disease and healing, and transformations in gender relations. The Kuba, like others, took their own active part in history, responding to the changes and calamities that colonization set in motion. Vansina follows the region’s inhabitants from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, when a new elite emerged on the eve of Congo’s dramatic passage to independence.

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Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous

Postcolonial Politics in a Neoliberal World

Dorothy L. Hodgson

What happens to marginalized groups from Africa when they ally with the indigenous peoples' movement? Who claims to be indigenous and why? Dorothy L. Hodgson explores how indigenous identity, both in concept and in practice, plays out in the context of economic liberalization, transnational capitalism, state restructuring, and political democratization. Hodgson brings her long experience with Maasai to her understanding of the shifting contours of their contemporary struggles for recognition, representation, rights, and resources. Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous is a deep and sensitive reflection on the possibilities and limits of transnational advocacy and the dilemmas of political action, civil society, and change in Maasai communities.

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Berber Culture on the World Stage

From Village to Video

Jane E. Goodman

"[S]ure to interest a number of different audiences, from language and music scholars to specialists on North Africa.... a superb book, clearly written, analytically incisive, about very important issues that have not been described elsewhere." -- John Bowen, Washington University

In this nuanced study of the performance of cultural identity, Jane E. Goodman travels from contemporary Kabyle Berber communities in Algeria and France to the colonial archives, identifying the products, performances, and media through which Berber identity has developed. In the 1990s, with a major Islamist insurgency underway in Algeria, Berber cultural associations created performance forms that challenged Islamist premises while critiquing their own village practices. Goodman describes the phenomenon of new Kabyle song, a form of world music that transformed village songs for global audiences. She follows new songs as they move from their producers to the copyright agency to the Parisian stage, highlighting the networks of circulation and exchange through which Berbers have achieved global visibility.

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Betrayal of Too Trusting a People. The UN, the UK and the Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons

The UN, the UK and the Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons

There is a growing body of literature on what was originally envisioned as a free political association of the French and British Cameroons and its dramatic effects on the 'British Cameroons' community. Anyangwe's new book is an attempt to write the history of the Southern Cameroons from a legal perspective. This authoritative work describes in great detail the story of La Republique du Cameroun's alleged annexation and colonization of the Southern Cameroons following the achievement of its independence, while highlighting the seeming complicity of the United Nations and the British Trusteeship Authority. In the process, Anyangwe unravels a number of myths created by the main actors to justify this injustice and, in the end, makes useful suggestions to reverse the situation and to restore statehood to the Southern Cameroons. The book is rich in archival research and informed by a global perspective. It convincingly shows the uniqueness of the Southern Cameroons case.

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Beyond Memory

Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music

South Africa possesses one of the richest popular music traditions in the world - from marabi to mbaqanga, from boeremusiek to bubblegum, from kwela to kwaito. Yet the risk that future generations of South Africans will not know their musical roots is very real. Of all the recordings made here since the 1930s, thousands have been lost for ever, for the powers-that-be never deemed them worthy of preservation. And if one peruses the books that exist on South African popular music, one still finds that their authors have on occasion jumped to conclusions that were not as foregone as they had assumed. Yet the fault lies not with them, rather in the fact that there has been precious little documentation in South Africa of who played what, or who recorded what, with whom, and when. This is true of all music-making in this country, though it is most striking in the musics of the black communities. Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music is an invaluable publication because it offers a first-hand account of the South African music scene of the past decades from the pen of a man, Max Thamagana Mojapelo, who was situated in the very thick of things, thanks to his job as a deejay at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. This book - astonishing for the breadth of its coverage - is based on his diaries, on interviews he conducted and on numerous other sources, and we find in it not only the well-known names of recent South African music but a countless host of others whose contribution must be recorded if we and future generations are to gain an accurate picture of South African music history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

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