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The Concept of Human Rights in Africa

Hitherto the human rights debate in Africa has concentrated on the legal and philosophical. The author, Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, here moves the debate to the social and political planes. He attempts to reconceptualise human rights ideology from the standpoint of the working people in Africa. He defines the approach as avoiding the pitfalls of the liberal perspective as being absolutist in viewing human rights as a central question and the rights struggle as the backbone of democratic struggles. The author maintains that such a study cannot be politically neutral or intellectually uncommitted. Both the critique of dominant discourse and the reconceptualisation are located within the current social science and jurisprudential debates.

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Congo 1964

Political Documents of a Developing Nation

Jules Gerard-Libois

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Congo 1965

Political Documents of a Developing Nation

Jules Gerard-Libois

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Congo in België

Koloniale cultuur in de metropool

Vincent Viaene, David Van Reybrouck, Bambi Ceuppens (eds)

België schiep Congo, maar schiep Congo ook België? In hoeverre werd het 20ste-eeuwse België voor een stuk gevormd door zijn kolonie? Die vraag stelde de toonaangevende Congolese historicus Isidore Ndaywel enige jaren geleden. Deze interdisciplinaire bundel biedt een antwoord. Hij belicht de invloed van de kolonie op de Belgische cultuur en samenleving, van hoog tot laag. Want kolonialisme is geen eenrichtingsverkeer. In Tervuren, bij nationale optochten en in klaslokalen zie je hoe Congo België mee inkleurde. Maar ook in de politiek, de media en de kunsten. Het gaat evengoed om de nesteling van Congo in de massacultuur van missieverhalen en speelfims, in de samenstelling van Belgische gezinnen of in de herinneringen van gewone mensen aan de voormalige kolonie. Het boek vormt zo een kaleidoscoop van het verschil dat Congo – en de Congolezen – maakten in de Belgische geschiedenis.

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Congo Love Song

African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State

Ira Dworkin

In his 1903 hit "Congo Love Song," James Weldon Johnson recounts a sweet if seemingly generic romance between two young Africans. While the song's title may appear consistent with that narrative, it also invokes the site of King Leopold II of Belgium's brutal colonial regime at a time when African Americans were playing a central role in a growing Congo reform movement. In an era when popular vaudeville music frequently trafficked in racist language and imagery, "Congo Love Song" emerges as one example of the many ways that African American activists, intellectuals, and artists called attention to colonialism in Africa.

In this book, Ira Dworkin examines black Americans' long cultural and political engagement with the Congo and its people. Through studies of George Washington Williams, Booker T. Washington, Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, and other figures, he brings to light a long-standing relationship that challenges familiar presumptions about African American commitments to Africa. Dworkin offers compelling new ways to understand how African American involvement in the Congo has helped shape anticolonialism, black aesthetics, and modern black nationalism.

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Contesting Caprivi

A History of Colonial Isolation and Regional Nationalism in Namibia

Bennett Kangumu

Caprivi, the remote and narrow Namibian strip of land encapsulated by neighbouring Angola, Zambia and Botswana, has a contested colonial and postcolonial history. Bennett Kangumu traces the politics of its people in this complex borderlands since the late 19th century. Neglected by German and South African colonial administrations, its inhabitants were often pushed towards neighbouring territories though not being an integral part of them. At the same time, South African apartheid and homeland politics emphasised the ethnization of local identities. Becoming a strategic location in the ensuing liberation wars of the late 20th century, its history is often one of conquest and resistance, plunder, betrayal and rivalry. Kangumu shows how the inhabitants of Caprivi responded in various ways, notably in the form of regional nationalism when the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) was formed in the early 1960s. The Union’s merger with the dominant Namibian liberation movement, SWAPO, was a claim to end seperation and isolation, which, however, flarred up again in post-colonial Namibia.

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Contesting French West Africa

Battles over Schools and the Colonial Order, 1900–1950

Harry Gamble

After the turn of the twentieth century, schools played a pivotal role in the construction of French West Africa. But as this dynamic, deeply researched study reveals, the expanding school system also became the site of escalating conflicts. As French authorities worked to develop truncated schools for colonial “subjects,” many African students and young elites framed educational projects of their own. Weaving together a complex narrative and rich variety of voices, Harry Gamble explores the high stakes of colonial education.

With the disruptions of World War II, contests soon took on new configurations. Seeking to forestall postwar challenges to colonial rule, French authorities showed a new willingness to envision broad reforms, in education as in other areas. Exploiting the new context of the Fourth Republic and the extension of citizenship, African politicians demanded an end to separate and inferior schools. Contesting French West Africa critically examines the move toward educational integration that took shape during the immediate postwar period. Growing linkages to the metropolitan school system ultimately had powerful impacts on the course of decolonization and the making of postcolonial Africa.

 
 

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The Cooke sisters

Education, piety and politics in early modern England

Gemma Allen

This book is a study of five remarkable sixteenth-century women. Part of the select group of Tudor women allowed access to a formal education, the Cooke sisters were also well-connected through their marriages to influential Elizabethan politicians. Drawing particularly on the sisters’ own writings, this book demonstrates that the sisters’ education extended far beyond that normally allowed for sixteenth-century women, challenging the view that women in this period were excluded from using their formal education to practical effect. It reveals that the sisters’ learning provided them with opportunities to communicate effectively their own priorities through their translations, verse and letters. By reconstructing the sisters’ networks, it demonstrates how they worked alongside – and sometimes against – family members over matters of politics and religion, empowered by their exceptional education. Providing new perspectives on these key issues, it will be essential reading for early modern historians and literary scholars.

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The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here

Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana

Boatema Boateng

In Ghana, adinkra and kente textiles derive their significance from their association with both Asante and Ghanaian cultural nationalism. Adinkra, made by stenciling patterns with black dye, and kente, a type of strip weaving, each convey, through color, style, and adornment, the bearer’s identity, social status, and even emotional state. Yet both textiles have been widely mass-produced outside Ghana, particularly in East Asia, without any compensation to the originators of the designs.

In The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here, Boatema Boateng focuses on the appropriation and protection of adinkra and kente cloth in order to examine the broader implications of the use of intellectual property law to preserve folklore and other traditional forms of knowledge. Boateng investigates the compatibility of indigenous practices of authorship and ownership with those established under intellectual property law, considering the ways in which both are responses to the changing social and historical conditions of decolonization and globalization. Comparing textiles to the more secure copyright protection that Ghanaian musicians enjoy under Ghanaian copyright law, she demonstrates that different forms of social, cultural, and legal capital are treated differently under intellectual property law.

Boateng then moves beyond Africa, expanding her analysis to the influence of cultural nationalism among the diaspora, particularly in the United States, on the appropriation of Ghanaian and other African cultures for global markets. Boateng’s rich ethnography brings to the surface difficult challenges to the international regulation of both contemporary and traditional concepts of intellectual property, and questions whether it can even be done.

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Creative State

Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico

by Natasha Iskander

At the turn of the twenty-first century, with the amount of money emigrants sent home soaring to new highs, governments around the world began searching for ways to capitalize on emigration for economic growth, and they looked to nations that already had policies in place. Morocco and Mexico featured prominently as sources of "best practices" in this area, with tailor-made financial instruments that brought migrants into the banking system, captured remittances for national development projects, fostered partnerships with emigrants for infrastructure design and provision, hosted transnational forums for development planning, and emboldened cross-border political lobbies.

In Creative State, Natasha Iskander chronicles how these innovative policies emerged and evolved over forty years. She reveals that the Moroccan and Mexican policies emulated as models of excellence were not initially devised to link emigration to development, but rather were deployed to strengthen both governments' domestic hold on power. The process of policy design, however, was so iterative and improvisational that neither the governments nor their migrant constituencies ever predicted, much less intended, the ways the new initiatives would gradually but fundamentally redefine nationhood, development, and citizenship. Morocco's and Mexico's experiences with migration and development policy demonstrate that far from being a prosaic institution resistant to change, the state can be a remarkable site of creativity, an essential but often overlooked component of good governance.

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