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African History

African History Book List

Cover of 'No Peace, No War'

No Peace, No War
An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflicts
Edited by Paul Richards

A rash of small wars erupted after the Cold War ended in Africa, the Balkans, and other parts of the former communist world. The wars were in “inter-zones,” the spaces left where weak states had withdrawn or collapsed. Consequently the debate over what constitutes war has returned to basics. No Peace, No War departs from the usual analysis that considers the new wars mindless mass actions to offer the paradoxical idea that to understand war one must deny war special status.

Cover of 'The Risks of Knowledge'

The Risks of Knowledge
Investigations into the Death of the Hon. Minister John Robert Ouko in Kenya, 1990
By David William Cohen and E. S. Atieno Odhiambo

The Risks of Knowledge minutely examines the multiple and unfinished investigations into the murder of Kenya's distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Ouko, and raises important issues about the production of knowledge and the politics of memory.

Cover of 'Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa'

Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa
By Timothy H. Parsons

Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting's global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority.

Cover of 'Portugal and Africa'

Portugal and Africa
By David Birmingham

Portugal was the first European nation to assert itself aggressively in African affairs. David Birmingham's Portugal and Africa, a collection of uniquely accessible historical essays, surveys this colonial encounter from its earliest roots.

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Theatres of Struggle and the End of Apartheid'

Theatres of Struggle and the End of Apartheid
By Belinda Bozzoli

A compelling study of the origins and trajectory of one of the legendary black uprisings against apartheid, Theatres of Struggle and the End of Apartheid draws on insights gained from the literature on collective action and social movements. It delves into the Alexandra Rebellion of 1986 to reveal its inner workings.

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Highland Sanctuary'

Highland Sanctuary
Environmental History in Tanzania’s Usambara Mountains
By Christopher A. Conte

Highland Sanctuary unravels the complex interactions among agriculture, herding, forestry, the colonial state, and the landscape itself. Conte’s study illuminates the debate over conservation, arguing that contingency and chance, the stuff of human history, have shaped forests in ways that rival the power of nature.

Cover of 'Slavery and Reform in West Africa'

Slavery and Reform in West Africa
Toward Emancipation in Nineteenth-Century Senegal and the Gold Coast
By Trevor R. Getz

A series of transformations, reforms, and attempted abolitions of slavery form a core narrative of nineteenth-century coastal West Africa. As the region's role in Atlantic commercial networks underwent a gradual transition from principally that of slave exporter to producer of “legitimate goods” and dependent markets, institutions of slavery became battlegrounds in which European abolitionism, pragmatic colonialism, and indigenous agency clashed.

Cover of 'Leaf of Allah'

Leaf of Allah
Khat and Agricultural Transformation in Harerge, Ethiopia, 1875–1991
By Ezekiel Gebissa

Khat is a quasi-legal psychoactive shrub, produced and marketed in the province of Harerge, Ethiopia, and widely consumed throughout Northeast Africa. In the late nineteenth century the main cash crop of Harerge was coffee. Leaf of Allah examines why farming families shifted from cultivating coffee and food crops to growing khat. Demographic, market, and political factors facilitated the emergence of khat as Harerge's leading agricultural commodity.

Cover of 'The Children of Africa Confront AIDS'

The Children of Africa Confront AIDS
From Vulnerability to Possibility
Edited by Arvind Singhal and Steve Howard

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. It describes HIV/AIDS in its macro context of the continent's democratization movements and in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.

Cover of 'Fighting the Slave Trade'

Fighting the Slave Trade
West African Strategies
Edited by Sylviane A. Diouf

While most studies of the slave trade focus on the volume of captives and on their ethnic origins, the question of how the Africans organized their familial and communal lives to resist and assail it has not received adequate attention. But our picture of the slave trade is incomplete without an examination of the ways in which men and women responded to the threat and reality of enslavement and deportation.

Cover of 'Social History and African Environments'

Social History and African Environments
Edited by William Beinart and JoAnn McGregor

The explosion of interest in African environmental history has stimulated research and writing on a wide range of issues facing many African nations. This collection represents some of the finest studies to date. The general topics include African environmental ideas and practices; colonial science, the state and African responses; and settlers and Africans' culture and nature.

Cover of '‘Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan’'

‘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.

Cover of 'Lineages of State Fragility'

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.

Cover of 'Eurafricans in Western Africa'

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.

Cover of 'South Africa’s Environmental History'

South Africa’s Environmental History
Cases and Comparisons
Edited by Stephen Dovers, Ruth Edgecombe, and Bill Guest

Environmental history in southern Africa has only recently come into its own as a distinct field of historical inquiry. While natural resources lie at the heart of all environmental history, the field opens the door to a wide range of inquiries, several of which are pioneered in this collection. South Africa's Environmental History offers a series of local and particular studies followed by more general commentary and comparative studies.