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This book brings and blends together a dozen scholarly articles published by the author since the 1970s. It sketches two different yet related stories: first, that of one of the most ancient and prestigious African civilizations, the antiquity and sophistication of which are becoming more and more prominent as field research unfolds their many facets. Second, the story of the researcher himself, who has had to alter and shift his approach to that civilization as he got to meet Grassfielders, colleagues, friends and scholars who changed his views about the Grassfields kingdoms and their people. This book bears witness to those many encounters. Historical and anthropological research is not only a question of relevant theories and methodologies. It is also a human endeavour made of networks and friendships.
Memories of an Authentic Eye Witness
The Cameroon Political Story is a long journey through the eyes and actions of the author himself. It is a mix between Mbileís memoirs, a bit of his biography and the Cameroon political story, heavily weighted in favour of that part of the Republic formerly identified as Southern Cameroons, later West Cameroon, now South West and North West Regions. The story is told in the interest of the Cameroonian youth and scholar who have often complained of the inadequate recording by political leaders of the life and deeds of their times. It is the story of an African boy of humble village beginnings who rose to participate in the making of a modern political community. It is hoped the book provides useful knowledge on the history, growth and constitutional evolution of Cameroon, a country which after more than a century of administrative metamorphosis settled to its present statehood in 1961, a Cameroon reborn.
This book deals with the important subject of governance and development. Even more significantly, the book has the merits of critically evaluating the concept of good governance in an African context, identifying the internal factors that impinge on good governance and development, and proposing solutions. It provides empirical evidence on the extent to which inappropriate governing strategies are the main internal obstacle to development in Cameroon. The authors discuss factors contributing to precarious and problematic governance from multidisciplinary perspectives, and demonstrate the extent to which such inadequacies impede positive social change. To promote effective development, the authors argue for the implementation of a good governance strategy that comprises, inter alia: adopting appropriate development strategies; decentralizing administration to make for popular participation and ensure accountability; taking the necessary steps to fight corruption; and ensuring the enforcement of property and cultural rights.
Initially considered something of a black sheep within the Anglophone Cameroon literary genres, the Anglophone novel has gradually grown to carve out a respectable niche for itself in the Anglophone Cameroon sub-system, imposing itself in a way that makes it impossible for critics to ignore it. Now a vibrant genre, it even threatens to overtake drama and poetry, both of which have enjoyed more critical attention. This book is a study of how Anglophone Cameroon has contributed in extending the possibilities of the novel as a literary form, and of some of the established conventions necessary for a fruitful evaluation of the growing body of the Cameroonian novel in English. In this eclectic and compelling book, Ambanasom sets out to achieve three primary objectives: to introduce the reader to the extensive body of Cameroonian novels in English, to re-examine the distorting and limiting criteria upon which the critical assessment of the Cameroonian novel in English has so far been based, and to bridge the widening chasm between literary theory and actual critical practice. To achieve these objectives, Ambanasom begins by elaborating an alternative and flexible theoretical framework which he christens the 'Socio-Artistic Approach' and which, according to him, is 'concerned with both a text's thematic, moral, cultural or ideological issues, on the one hand, and its central literary analysis, on the other.' He then proceeds to use this new critical framework to examine twenty-seven major Cameroonian novels in English. There are critical voices, already emerging within the Anglophone Cameroonian literary circles, calling for rigorous teaching and practice of theory in the interpretation of literary works, setting in motion a critical discourse. Such a call is salutary, and welcome. Those university lecturers whose responsibility it is to teach theoretical courses should take this call very seriously, moving from theory to hands-on practice. This book is Ambanasom's contribution to that critical debate.
Management and Resolution, 1981-2011
At independence, Cameroon and Nigeria adhered to the OAU principle of UTI POSSEDETIS JURIS by inheriting the colonial administrative borders whose delineation in some parts was either imperfect or not demarcated or both. The two countries tried to correct these anomalies. But such efforts were later thwarted by incessant geostrategic reckoning, dilatory, and diversionary tactics in the seventies and eighties that persisted and resurfaced in the nineties with a more determined posture. On two occasions, the border conflict almost boiled over to a full-scale war. First, in May 1981 when there was the exchange of fire between Cameroonian and Nigerian coast guards and second, in February 1994 when Nigeria marched her troops into Cameroonís Bakassi Peninsula. Elsewhere in Africa, border incidents like these have often degenerated into war. But Cameroon and Nigeria together with the international community managed these protracted incidents from escalating into war. This book examines the part played by the disputing parties, Cameroon and Nigeria; the mediation, conciliatory and adjudicatory role of third parties; and the regional and international organisations, in the process of the resolution of the border dispute from 1981-2011. The study situates the nature and dynamics of the dispute historically, and comprehensively explores in detail its causes, settlement and resolution.
Its History and Prospects as an Opposition Political Party (1990-2011)
Cameroon's Social Democratic Front (SDF) was among the watershed challenges c.1990 by sub-Saharan Africa's democratization forces against autocratic regimes, but it crested in 1992 and has subsided since. Yet the party survives, participates in the National Assembly, maintains a grass roots structure, and prepares for a presidential ballot in 2011 that will likely determine its fate. The author conducted research four times in Cameroon, 1989-1999, focusing on the SDF since 1991, and maintains party contacts to the present. The book assesses its history and its prospects, covering the SDF in Africa-wide as well as Cameroonian terms. "Krieger has given us the first, superbly researched, finely tuned analysis of the fortunes of a major contemporary African opposition party, Cameroon's Social Democratic Front (SDF)." - Victor Le Vine, Washington University, St. Louis, USA. "The book goes far beyond its title and puts in context a daylight re-emergence of political opposition in Cameroon. To say that this long overdue history of the SDF party is a prolegomena to understanding contemporary Cameroon social forces is not an overstatement." - Ambroise Kom, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon. "...a level-headed but provocative examination of the structure and workings of a major African country...the sobriety with which he evaluates institutions and leadership is commendable, yielding exceptional analysis that will stand the test of time." - Toyin Falola, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria. Milton Krieger started teaching and research about sub-Saharan Africa in 1970. Nine trips there include four research visits providing two years time in Cameroon, 1989-99. The second, 1991, coincided with 'villes mortes' and turned his primary scholarship to the Social Democratic Front. Access to party documents, officials, and rank and file members included visitor status at the 1995 and 1999 national conventions. Party contacts continue to the present.
Histories of a Hurricane
Thirty-six years before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and southern Mississippi, the region was visited by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States: Camille.
Mark M. Smith offers three highly original histories of the storm’s impact in southern Mississippi. In the first essay Smith examines the sensory experience and impact of the hurricane—how the storm rearranged and challenged residents’ senses of smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste. The second essay explains the way key federal officials linked the question of hurricane relief and the desegregation of Mississippi’s public schools. Smith concludes by considering the political economy of short- and long-term disaster recovery, returning to issues of race and class.
Camille, 1969 offers stories of survival and experience, of the tenacity of social justice in the face of a natural disaster, and of how recovery from Camille worked for some but did not work for others. Throughout these essays are lessons about how we might learn from the past in planning for recovery from natural disasters in the future.
How a Series of Watering Holes, Fords, and Dirt Trails Evolved into Interstate 35 in Texas
Some five hundred miles of superhighway run between the Rio Grande and the Red River—present-day Interstate 35. This towering achievement of modern transportation engineering links a string of Texas metropolises and some 7.7 million people, and yet it all evolved from a series of humble little trails. The I-35 Corridor that runs north-south through Texas connects Dallas and Fort Worth with Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo en route to ancient towns in Mexico. Along its path lie urban centers, technology parks, parking lots, strip malls, apartment complexes, and vast open spaces. In this fascinating popular history, based on extensive primary and secondary research, Howard J. Erlichman asks how and why the Camino del Norte (the Northern Road) developed as (and where) it did. He uncovers, dissects, prioritizes, and repackages layer upon layer of centuries-spanning history to, in his words, "solve the mystery of I-35." His chronicle focuses less on the physical placement of I-35 than on the reasons it was created: the founding of posts and villages and the early development of towns. Along the way, he explores a number of circumstances that contributed to the location and development of the corridor: pre-Columbian cultures, Mexican silver mining, road and bridge building techniques, Indian tribes, railroad developments, military affairs, car culture, and pavement technology, to name a few. Presently, a variety of new highway projects are underway to address the dramatic expansion of I-35 traffic generated by population growth and business enterprise. Those interested in the economic development of the state of Texas, in NAFTA links and their precursors, and in touring the Interstate itself will find this book informative and useful.
Gender, Sexuality, and Women in the Military
Drawing on surveys and interviews with almost 300 female military personnel, Melissa Herbert explores how women's everyday actions, such as choice of uniform, hobby, or social activity, involve the creation and re-creation of what it means to be a woman, and particularly a woman soldier. Do women feel pressured to be "more masculine," to convey that they are not a threat to men's jobs or status and to avoid being perceived as lesbians? She also examines the role of gender and sexuality in the maintenance of the male-defined military institution, proposing that, more than sexual harassment or individual discrimination, it is the military's masculine ideology--which views military service as the domain of men and as a mechanism for the achievement of manhood--which serves to limit women's participation in the military has increased dramatically. In the wake of armed conflict involving female military personnel and several sexual misconduct scandals, much attention has focused on what life is like for women in the armed services. Few, however, have examined how these women negotiate an environment that has been structured and defined as masculine.