How does anxiety impact narratives about African history, culture, and society? This volume demonstrates the richness of anxiety as an analytical lens within African studies. Contributors call attention to ways of thinking about African spaces—physical, visceral, somatic, and imagined—as well as about time and temporality. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the volume also brings histories of anxiety in colonial settings into conversation with work on the so-called negative emotions in disciplines beyond history. While anxiety has long been acknowledged for its ability to unsettle colonial narratives, to reveal the vulnerability of the colonial enterprise, this volume shows it can equally complicate contemporary narratives, such as those of sustainable development, migration, sexuality, and democracy. These essays therefore highlight the need to take emotions seriously as contemporary realities with particular histories that must be carefully mapped out.
Acknowledgments vii I n t roduct ion States of Anxiety in Africa Perspectives, Approaches, and Potential Yola na Pringle and Andrea Mariko Grant 1 PART I: Anxious Spaces One: Misapprehensions. Outlaws and Anxiety in Southern Africa’s Archaeological Past (Rach el King) Two: Between the Anxiogenic and the Soothing. Settlers’ Engagements with Africans in Dance in Colonial Africa, 1920s–30s (Cécile Feza Bushidi) Three: Epidemics and Anxiety in Saint-Louis-du-Sénégal, from the Mid-Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Century (Kalala Ngala mulume) Part II: Unsettling Na rratives Four: Anxiety over Masculinity. Gendered and Sexual Struggles in Mwanga II’s Buganda, 1884–97 (Naka nyike B. Musisi) Five: No End to the Trouble. Decolonization Anxieties and the Evacuation of White Settlers from Kenya, 1963–64 (Will Jacks on and Harry Firth-Jones) Six: Competing Development “Visions”? State Anxieties and Church Closures in Rwanda (Andrea Mariko Grant) Part III: Alternative Temporalities Seven: “Right Now, I Don’t Know What the Future Might Bring”. Hope, Anxiety, and Despair in the Burundian Crisis (Simon Turner) Eight: “Obuganda Buladde". Power, Anxiety, and Calm in Postcolonial Buganda (Jonathon L. Earle) Contributors Index
Andrea Mariko Grant is a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her work explores popular culture and religious change in Rwanda, as well as memory and the creation of postgenocide archives. Her work has appeared in Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute, Journal of Religion in Africa, and Journal of Eastern African Studies, among others.
Yolana Pringle is senior lecturer in the history of medicine at the University of Roehampton. Her research interests include the history of psychiatry and mental health, humanitarianism, and global health, with a regional focus on East Africa. Her first book, Psychiatry and Decolonisation in Uganda, was published in 2019. She is currently working on a history of mental health care in contexts of political violence in Africa.
“Using ‘anxiety’ as the organizing rubric, this collective examination of affect, emotion, and concern across Africa, geographically and temporally, delves into fascinating disciplinary endeavors and disparate approaches. Although ‘anxiety’ is deliberately not defined strictly by the editors, and the contributors employ their own, different takes on what is anxiety inducing (and what is inferred by being anxiety provoking), this volume contains valuable essays about historical periods or behavioral thresholds that may be labeled as sources of anxiety…. Recommended.”
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