Ohio RIS Africa Series

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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. 

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African Video Movies and Global Desires

A Ghanaian History

Carmela Garritano

African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.

African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.

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Children Of Africa Confront AIDS

From Vulnerability To Possibility

Arvind Singhal

 AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, where twenty-eight million people are HIV-positive, and where some twelve million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, 45 percent of children under the age of five are HIV-positive, and the epidemic has shortened life expectancy by twenty-two years. A fifteen-year-old in Botswana or South Africa has a one-in-two chance of dying of AIDS. AIDS deaths are so widespread in sub-Saharan Africa that small children now play a new game called “Funerals.”

The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. A project of the Institute for the African Child at Ohio University, The Children of Africa Confront AIDS cuts across disciplines and issues to focus on the world's most marginalized population group, the children of Africa.

Editors Arvind Singhal and Stephen Howard join conversations between humanitarian and political activists and academics, asking, “What shall we do?” Such discourse occurs in African contexts ranging from a social science classroom in Botswana to youth groups in Kenya and Ghana. The authors describe HIV/AIDS in its macro contexts of vulnerable children and the continent's democratization movements and also in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.

Singhal, Howard, and other contributors draw on compelling personal experience in descriptions of HIV/AIDS interventions for children in difficult circumstances and present thoughtful insights into data gathered from surveys and observations concerning this terrible epidemic.

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Empire in Africa

Angola and Its Neighbors

David Birmingham

The dark years of European fascism left their indelible mark on Africa. As late as the 1970s, Angola was still ruled by white autocrats, whose dictatorship was eventually overthrown by black nationalists who had never experienced either the rule of law or participatory democracy. Empire in Africa takes the long view of history and asks whether the colonizing ventures of the Portuguese can bear comparison with those of the Mediterranean Ottomans or those experienced by Angola’s neighbors in the Belgian Congo, French Equatorial Africa, or the Dutch colonies at the Cape of Good Hope and in the Transvaal. David Birmingham takes the reader through Angola’s troubled past, which included endemic warfare for the first twenty-five years of independence, and examines the fact that in the absence of a viable neocolonial referee such as Britain or France, the warring parties turned to Cold War superpowers for a supply of guns. For a decade Angola replaced Vietnam as a field in which an international war by proxy was conducted. Empire in Africa explains how this African nation went from colony to independence, how in the 1990s the Cold War legacy turned to civil war, and how peace finally dawned in 2002.

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Not White Enough, Not Black Enough

Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community

Mohamed Adhikari

The concept of Colouredness---being neither white nor black---has been pivotal to the brand of racial thinking particular to South African society .The nature of Coloured identity has always been a matter of intense political and ideological contestation. Between Black and White: Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community is the first systematic study of Coloured identity, its history, and its relevance to South African national life. Mohamed Adhikari engages with the debates and controversies thrown up by the identity?s troubled existence and challenges much of the conventional wisdom associated with it. A combination of wide-ranging thematic analyses and detailed case studies illustrate how Colouredness functioned as a social identity from the time of its emergence in the late nineteenth century through to its adaptation to the post-apartheid environment. Adhikari demonstrates how the interplay of marginality, racial hierarchy, assimilationist aspirations, negative racial stereotyping, class divisions, and ideological conflicts helped mold peoples' sense of Colouredness over the past century. Knowledge of this history and of the social and political dynamic that informed the articulation of a separate Coloured identity are vital to an understanding of present-day complexities in South Africa. Mohamed Adhikari lectures in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town. His books include Let us Live for Our Children: The Teachers League of South Africa, 1913-1940, and he coedited South Africa's Resistance Press: Alternative Voices in the Last Generation under Apartheid (Ohio, 2000).

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The Sacred Door and Other Stories

Cameroon Folktales of the Beba

Makuchi

The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba offers readers a selection of folktales infused with riddles, proverbs, songs, myths, and legends, using various narrative techniques that capture the vibrancy of Beba oral traditions. Makuchi retells the stories that she heard at home when she was growing up in her native
Cameroon.
The collection of thirty-three folktales of the Beba showcases a wide variety of stories that capture the richness and complexities of an agrarian society’s oral literature and traditions. Revenge, greed, and deception are among the themes that frame the story lines in both new and familiar ways. In the title story, a poor man finds himself elevated to king. The condition for his continued success is that he not open the sacred door. This tale of temptation, similar to the story of Pandora’s box, concludes with the question, “What would you have done?”
Makuchi relates the stories her mother told her so that readers can make connections
between African and North American oral narrative traditions. These tales reinforce the commonalities of our human experiences without discounting our differences.



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Screening Morocco

Contemporary Depictions in Film of a Changing Society

Valerie Orlando

 Since 1999 and the death of King Hassan II, Morocco has experienced a dramatic social transformation. Encouraged by the more openly democratic climate fostered by young King Mohammed VI, filmmakers have begun to explore the sociocultural and political debates of their country while also seeking to document the untold stories of a dark past. Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society focuses on Moroccan films produced and distributed from 1999 to the present.

Moroccan cinema serves as an all-inclusive medium that provides a sounding board for a society that is remaking itself. Male and female directors present the face of an engaged, multiethnic and multilingual society. Their cinematography promotes a country that is dynamic and connected to the global sociocultural economy of the twenty-first century. At the same time, they seek to represent the closed, obscure past of a nation’s history that has rarely been told, drawing on themes such as human rights abuse, the former incarceration of thousands during the Lead Years, women’s emancipation, poverty, and claims for social justice.  

Screening Morocco will introduce American readers to the richness in theme and scope of the cinematic production of Morocco. 


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Your Madness Not Mine

Stories of Cameroon

Makuchi

Women's writing in Cameroon has so far been dominated by Francophone writers. The short stories in this collection represent the yearnings and vision of an Anglophone woman, who writes both as a Cameroonian and as a woman whose life has been shaped by the minority status her people occupy within the nation-state.

The stories in Your Madness, Not Mine are about postcolonial Cameroon, but especially about Cameroonian women, who probe their day-to-day experiences of survival and empowerment as they deal with gender oppression: from patriarchal expectations to the malaise of maldevelopment, unemployment, and the attraction of the West for young Cameroonians.

Makuchi has given us powerful portraits of the people of postcolonial Africa in the so-called global village who too often go unseen and unheard. 

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