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Constitutionalism is steadily becoming the prevalent form of governance in Africa. But how does constitutionalism deal with the lingering effects of colonialism? And how does constitutional law deal with Islamic principles in the region? African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam seeks to answer these questions. Constitutional governance has not been, nor will be, easily achieved, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im argues. But setbacks and difficulties are to be expected in the process of adaptation and indigenization of an essentially alien concept—that of of nation-state—and its role in large-scale political and social organization.
An-Na'im discusses the problems of implementing constitutionalized forms of government specific to Africa, from definitional to conceptual and practical issues. The role of Islam in these endeavors is open to challenge and reformulation, and should not be taken for granted or assumed to be necessarily negative or positive, An-Na'im asserts, and he emphasizes the role of the agency of Muslims in the process of adapting constitutionalism to the values and practices of their own societies. By examining the incremental successes that some African nations have already achieved and An-Na'im reveals the contingent role that Islam has to play in this process. Ultimately, these issues will determine the long-term sustainability of constitutionalism in Africa.
Vol. 36 (2008) through current issue
African Economic History, published once a year by the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on recent economic change in Africa as well as the colonial and precolonial economic history of the continent.
Contradictions of Neo-Liberal Land Reforms
This empirically grounded study provides a critical reflection on the land question in Africa, research on which tends to be tangential, conceptually loose and generally inadequate. It argues that the most pressing research concern must be to understand the precise nature of the African land question, its land reforms and their effects on development. To unravel the roots of land conflicts in Africa requires thorough understanding of the complex social and political contradictions which have ensued from colonial and post-colonial land policies, as well as from Africa's 'development' and capital accumulation trajectories, especially with regard to the land rights of the continent's poor. The study thus questions the capacity of emerging neo-liberal economic and political regimes in Africa to deliver land reforms which address growing inequality and poverty. It equally questions the understanding of the nature of popular demands for land reforms by African states, and their ability to address these demands under the current global political and economic structures dictated by neo-liberalism and its narrow regime of ownership. The study invites scholars and policy makers to creatively draw on the specific historical trajectories and contemporary expression of the land and agrarian questions in Africa, to enrich both theory and practice on land in Africa.
"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.
Throughout its long and often tumultuous history, “La Hispanola” has taken on various cultural identities to meet the expectations — and especially the demands — of those who governed it. The island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti saw its first great shift with the arrival of Spanish colonists, who eliminated the indigenous population and established a pattern of indifference or hostility to diversity there. This enlightening book explores the Dominican Republic through the lens of its African descendants, beginning with the rise of the black slave trade in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century West Africa, and continuing on to slavery as it existed on the island. An engaging history that vividly details black life in the Dominican Republic, the book investigates the slave rebellions and evaluates the numerous contributions of black slaves to Dominican culture.
Building Synergy for Development
For the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and its partners, the link between research and policy is of paramount importance in their goal to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in developing countries. The nature of the collaboration between researchers and decision-makers, however, is complex, multifaceted and often difficult to implement. Moreover, research is very often designed and carried out without regard for its potential users or beneficiaries. How should research agendas be developed? What is the role of the private sector in developing research? Which actors are involved in knowledge production and utilization? How can the dialogue between researchers and decision-makers be improved? This short and accessible book records the reflections, opinions and recommendations which emerged from six national workshops organised between 2004 and 2007 in West and Central Africa on the synergy between researchers and decision-makers. Abdoulaye Ndiaye is a Senegalese expert and international consultant in development. He edited this book as a member and on behalf of the IDRC Council of Regional Advisors for West and Central Africa which organized the series of workshops throughout the sub-region.
The doctrine of international relations (inter-state, indeed), territorial ideologies, the logic of autochthony and its ramifications, ethnic cleansing, are all hinged at different levels upon the same pseudo-fact: to every society a closed and exclusive territory demarcated by fixed and linear borders. This way of thinking, totally foreign to African societies for a long time, has generated today more contradictions than it can ever solve. The authors of this book make a clear distinction between territory formation "from the top" as being a deliberate political project, and its formation "from below" as being a more diffused historical process which is determined by the scheme of antagonisms and compromises between social forces. In lieu of a stark opposition between "the top" and "below", the authors unveil the interdependence and mutual influence which form the basis of a dual system within which legal formation -by the colonial authorities first, then by the postcolonial one- is confronted with a host of subaltern spatial dynamics, neglecting thereby the legitimacy which only them can provide. As an essential read for anyone who is interested in the relationship between knowledge and power, this book offers stimulating perspectives on the issue of African unity and its epistemological and political challenges. It renews profoundly our approaches to human security, citizenship, borders and mobility. Contributions are in English and in French.
The latest work from Harold Scheub, one of the world's leading scholars of African folktales, is the broadest collection yet assembled with tales from the entire continent of Africa, north to south. It brings together mythic, fantastic, and coming-of-age tales, some transcribed more than a hundred years ago, others dating to modern-day Africa. Scheub includes the work of storytellers from major African language groups, as well as many storytellers whose work is not often heard outside of Africa. This anthology offers a classroom-ready collection that should appeal to any scholar of African literature and culture. Realizing that these tales are part of a dying art, Scheub writes for the inner ear in everyone, bringing an oral tradition to life in written form.
Solving African Problems with Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance
This book looks at the first ten years of the African Union. This is the second in a series of books that will be produced each year from annual conferences held on the multi-faceted issue of African liberation. The key themes of the book explore ways of improving the effectiveness of the African Union, fostering unity amongst African countries through entrenchment of pan-Africanism, and building ownership of the African Union by the African people and their communities. In addition, the thoughts of key figures of pan-Africanism and black emancipation, such as Sylvester Williams and Frantz Fanon, are re-positioned to even greater contemporary relevance. Through its promotion of Ethiopianism, pan-Africanism and the African renaissance, we trust that this book will add new interest and a fresh perspective to how Africans move forward together into a post-colonial era where policies and actions are determined by the united agency of liberated Africans the world over.