This series, produced by publishers on three continents, brings together significant international scholarly work on Western Africa. Building on the successful model of the James Currey/Ohio University Press Eastern African Studies series, this series covers the western half of the continent from the Maghreb to the Congo. Multidisciplinary in character, the series is intended to circulate new work on the region throughout the world. In collaboration with a growing network of West African publishers and book distributors, the series includes work in anthropology, oral literature, politics, development, and in social and political history.



There has long been a need for a new textbook on West Africa’s history. In Themes in West Africa’s History, editor Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and his contributors meet this need, examining key themes in West Africa's prehistory to the present through the lenses of their different disciplines. The contents of the book comprise an introduction and thirteen chapters divided into three parts.


Ouidah · The Social History of a West African Slaving Port, 1727–1892

By Robin Law


Kola is God’s Gift · Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives, and the Kola Industry in Asante and the Gold Coast, c. 1920–1950

By Edmund Abaka



‘Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan’ · Chieftaincy and Civic Culture in a Yoruba City

By Ruth Watson

Civil Disorder Is the Disease of the Ibadan is a study of chieftaincy and political culture in Ibadan, the most populous city in Britain’s largest West African colony, Nigeria. Examining the period between 1829 and 1939, it shows how and why the processes through which Ibadan was made into a civic community shifted from the battlefield to a discursive field.


Eurafricans in Western Africa · Commerce, Social Status, Gender, and Religious Observance from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century

By George E. Brooks

Eurafricans in Western Africa traces the rich social and commercial history of western Africa. The most comprehensive study to date, it begins prior to the sixteenth century when huge profits made by middlemen on trade in North African slaves, salt, gold, pepper, and numerous other commodities prompted Portuguese reconnaissance voyages along the coast of western Africa.


The first integrated history of the Ghana-Togo borderlands, Smugglers, Secessionists, and Loyal Citizens on the Ghana-Togo Frontier challenges the conventional wisdom that the current border is an arbitrary European construct, resisted by Ewe irredentism. Paul Nugent contends that whatever the origins of partition, border peoples quickly became knowing and active participants in the shaping of this international boundary.


Lineages of State Fragility · Rural Civil Society in Guinea-Bissau

By Joshua B. Forrest

Lineages of State Fragility argues that despite European influences, the contemporary fragility of African states can be fully appreciated only by examining the indigenous social context in which these states evolved. Focusing on Guinea-Bissau, Forrest exposes the emergence of a strong and adaptable “rural civil society” that can be traced back to precolonial times.



Between the Sea and the Lagoon · An Eco-social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana c. 1850 to Recent Times

By Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong

This study offers a “social interpretation of environmental process” for the coastal lowlands of southeastern Ghana. The Anlo-Ewe, sometimes hailed as the quintessential sea fishermen of the West African coast, are a previously non-maritime people who developed a maritime tradition. As a fishing community the Anlo have a strong attachment to their land. In the twentieth century coastal erosion has brought about a collapse of the balance between nature and culture.




Paths of Accommodation · Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920

By David Robinson



El Dorado in West Africa · The Gold Mining Frontier, African Labor, and Colonial Capitalism

By Raymond E. Dumett

The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed some of the greatest gold mining migrations in history when dreams of bonanza lured thousands of prospectors and diggers to the far corners of the earth—including the Gold Coast of West Africa. El Dorado in West Africa explores the first modern gold rush of Ghana in all of its dimensions—land, labor, capital, traditional African mining, technology, transport, management, the clash of cultures, and colonial rule.


Willing Migrants · Soninke Labor Diasporas, 1848–1960

By François Manchuelle

The first major study of the Soninke labor migration within Africa and to France, Willing Migrants is based upon critical analysis of French precolonial and colonial records and oral interviews with Soninke migrants.