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Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger
Seizing the space opened by the early 1990s democratization movement, Muslim women are carving an active, influential, but often-overlooked role for themselves during a time of great change. Engaging Modernity provides a compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confronted the challenges and opportunities of the late twentieth century.
Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Ousseina Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. Alidou offers a gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories.
Runner-up, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, 2007
The Story of South Africa's Five Most Lethal Human Diseases
From Victory to Collapse, 1977-1991
The Ethiopian popular revolution of 1974 ended a monarchy that claimed descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and brought to power a military government that created one of the largest and best-equipped armies in Africa. In his panoramic study of the Ethiopian army, Fantahun Ayele draws upon his unprecedented access to Ethiopian Ministry of Defense archives to study the institution that was able to repel the Somali invasion of 1977 and suppress internal uprisings, but collapsed in 1991 under the combined onslaught of armed insurgencies in Eritrea and Tigray. Besides military operations, The Ethiopian Army discusses tactical areas such as training, equipment, intelligence, and logistics, as well as grand strategic choices such as ending the 1953 Ethio-American Mutual Defense Agreement and signing a treaty of military assistance with the Soviet Union. The result sheds considerable light on the military developments that have shaped Ethiopia and the Horn in the twentieth century.
France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam
Alone among Muslim countries, Morocco is known for its own national form of Islam, "Moroccan Islam." However, this pathbreaking study reveals that Moroccan Islam was actually invented in the early twentieth century by French ethnographers and colonial officers who were influenced by British colonial practices in India. Between 1900 and 1920, these researchers compiled a social inventory of Morocco that in turn led to the emergence of a new object of study, Moroccan Islam, and a new field, Moroccan studies. In the process, they reinvented Morocco as a modern polity and resurrected the monarchy.
This book will be of interest to scholars and readers interested in questions of orientalism and empire, colonialism and modernity, and the invention of traditions.
Resistance and Resilience
In this sweeping history, Tibebe Eshete presents a new view of Ethiopian Christianity. Synthesizing existing scholarship with original interviews and archival research, he demonstrates that the vernacular nature of the Ethiopian church played a critical role in the development of a state church. He also traces the effects of the political on the religious: the growth of other “counter-cultural” movements in 1960s Ethiopia, such as renewal movements, youth discontentment, and the Marxist regime (under which the church still flourished). This strikingly authentic work refutes the thesis that evangelicalism was imported. Instead, Eshete shows, it was a genuine indigenous response to cultural pressures.
The African Church and the Crisis of Aids
Facing a Pandemic traces the history and spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in Africa and its impact on African society and public policy before considering new priorities needed to combat the pandemic. The central argument is that the theological motif of the image of God invites a prophetic critique of the social environment in which HIV/AIDS thrives and calls for a praxis of love and compassion.
Rulership and Colonialism in the Mpondo Kingdom (c. 1780-1867)
From roughly 1818 to 1867, Faku was ruler of the Mpondo Kingdom located in what is now the north-east section of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Because of Faku’s legacy, the Mpondo Kingdom became the last African state in Southern Africa to fall under colonial rule.
When his father died, Faku inherited his power. In a period of intense raiding, migration and state formation, he transformed the Mpondo polity from a loosely organized constellation of tributary groups to a centralized and populous state with effective military capabilities and a prosperous agricultural foundation. In 1830, Faku allowed Wesleyan missionaries to establish a station within his kingdom and they became his main channel of communication with the Cape Colony, and later Natal. Ironically, he never showed any serious inclination to convert to Christianity.
From the 1840s to early 1850s, this Mpondo king played a central, yet often understated, role in the British colonization of South Africa. While over the years his territory and power declined, Faku remained quite astute in diplomatic negotiations with colonial officials and used his missionary connections to optimum advantage.
Timothy J. Stapleton’s narrative and use of oral history paint a clear and remarkable portrait of Faku and how he was able to manipulate missionaries, neighbours, colonists and circumstances to achieve his objectives. As a result, Faku: Rulership and Colonialism in the Mpondo Kingdom (c.1780-1867) helps illuminate the history of the entire Cape region.
Land Tenure and the Legal Imagination
In Farmers and the State in Colonial Kano, Steven Pierce examines issues surrounding the colonial state and the distribution of state power in northern Nigeria. Here, Pierce deconstructs the colonial state and offers a unique reading of land tenure that challenges earlier views of the role of indirect rule. According to Pierce, land tenure was the means the colonial government used to rule the local population and extract taxes from them, but it was also a political logic with a fundamental flaw and a Western bias. In Pierce's view, colonial representations of land tenure claimed to reflect precolonial systems of rule, but instead, fundamentally misrepresented farmers' experience. He maintains that this misrepresentation created a paradox at the core of the colonial state which persists into the present and helps to explain contemporary problems in African states. In this sweeping and eloquent account of African history, readers will find an extended genealogy of land law and taxation as well as rich material on the power of indigenous knowledge and the persistence of colonial systems of rule.
Elites and Institutions
Does Western-style democracy make sense in the various geographic, economic, and social settings of the continent? How far toward democracy have recent liberalization movements gone? In The Fate of Africa's Democratic Experiments, Leonardo A. Villalón, Peter VonDoepp, and an international group of contributors consider the aftermath, success, failure, and future of the wave of democracy that swept Africa in the early 1990s. In some countries, democratic movements flourished, while in others, democratic success was more circumscribed. This detailed analysis of key political events in countries at the forefront of democratic change -- Benin, Central African Republic, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, and Zambia -- provides for broadly representative continental and linguistic coverage of directions and prospects for Africa's democracies.
The contributors are Michael Chege, John F. Clark, Joshua B. Forrest, Abdourahmane Idrissa, Bruce Magnusson, Carrie Manning, Richard R. Marcus, Andreas Mehler, David J. Simon, Leonardo A. Villalón, and Peter VonDoepp.
Nwando Achebe presents the fascinating history of an Igbo woman, Ahebi Ugbabe, who became king in colonial Nigeria. Ugbabe was exiled from Igboland, became a prostitute, traveled widely, and learned to speak many languages. She became a close companion of Nigerian Igala kings and the British officers who supported her claim to the office of headman, warrant chief, and later, king. In this unique biography, Achebe traces the roots of Ugbabe's rise to fame and fortune. While providing critical perspectives on women, gender, sex and sexuality, and the colonial encounter, she also considers how it was possible for this woman to take on the office and responsibilities of a traditionally male role.