In June 1960, a young faculty wife named Alzada Kistner and her husband David, a promising entomologist, left their 18-month old daughter in the care of relatives and began what was to be a four month scientific expedition in the Belgian Congo. Three weeks after their arrival, the country was gripped by a violent revolution trapping the Kistners in its midst. Despite having to find their way out of numerous life-threatening situations, the Kistners were not to be dissuaded. An emergency airlift by the United States Air Force brought them to safety in Kenya where they continued their field work.
Thus began three decades of adventures in science. In An Affair with Africa, Alzada Kistner describes her family's African experience -- the five expeditions they took beginning with the trip to the Belgian Congo in 1960 and ending in 1972-73 with a nine-month excursion across southern Africa. From hunching over columns of ants for hours on end while seven months pregnant to eating dinner next to Idi Amin, Kistner provides a lively and humor-filled account of the human side of scientific discovery. Her wonderfully detailed stories clearly show why, despite hardship and danger -- and contrary to all of society's expectations -- she could not forsake accompanying her husband on his expeditions, and, to this day, continues to find the world "endlessly beckoning, a lively bubbling cauldron of questions and intrigue."
In the spirit of Beryl Markham's West with the Night and Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, An Affair with Africa shares with readers the thoughts and experiences of a remarkable woman, one whose unquenchable thirst for adventure led her into a series of almost unimaginable situations. Readers -- from armchair travelers fascinated by stories of Africa to scientists familiar with the Kistners's work but unaware of the lengths to which they went to gather their data -- will find An Affair with Africa a rare treasure.
Winner of the John Gilmary Shea PrizeA groundbreaking history of how Africans in the French Empire embraced both African independence and their Catholic faith during the upheaval of decolonization, leading to a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church.African Catholic examines how French imperialists and the Africans they ruled imagined the religious future of French sub-Saharan Africa in the years just before and after decolonization. The story encompasses the political transition to independence, Catholic contributions to black intellectual currents, and efforts to alter the church hierarchy to create an authentically “African” church.Elizabeth Foster recreates a Franco-African world forged by conquest, colonization, missions, and conversions—one that still exists today. We meet missionaries in Africa and their superiors in France, African Catholic students abroad destined to become leaders in their home countries, African Catholic intellectuals and young clergymen, along with French and African lay activists. All of these men and women were preoccupied with the future of France’s colonies, the place of Catholicism in a postcolonial Africa, and the struggle over their personal loyalties to the Vatican, France, and the new African states.Having served as the nuncio to France and the Vatican’s liaison to UNESCO in the 1950s, Pope John XXIII understood as few others did the central questions that arose in the postwar Franco-African Catholic world. Was the church truly universal? Was Catholicism a conservative pillar of order or a force to liberate subjugated and exploited peoples? Could the church change with the times? He was thinking of Africa on the eve of Vatican II, declaring in a radio address shortly before the council opened, “Vis-à-vis the underdeveloped countries, the church presents itself as it is and as it wants to be: the church of all.”
There have been institutions of higher learning for centuries in Africa, but the phenomenal growth has taken place in the last fifty years, first in the later days of colonialism and then in the heady days of independence and commodity boom. Without them, there would have been no development.
The three highly distinguished authors have written the first comprehensive assessment of universities and higher education in Africa south of the Sahara. As can be seen from their biographies, they draw on experience from both francophone and anglophone Africa and from teaching in both the sciences and the arts.
Christianity and Public Culture in Africa takes readers beyond familiar images of religious politicians and populations steeped in spirituality. It shows how critical reason and Christian convictions have combined in surprising ways as African Christians confront issues such as national constitutions, gender relations, and the continuing struggle with HIV/AIDS.
The wide-ranging essays included here explore rural Africa and the continent’s major cities, colonial and missionary legacies, and mass media images in the twenty-first century. They also reveal the diversity of Pentecostalism in Africa and highlight the region’s remarkable denominational diversity. Scholars and students alike will find these essays timely and impressive.
The contributors demonstrate how the public significance of Christianity varies across time and place. They explore rural Africa and the continent’s major cities, and colonial and missionary situations, as well as mass-mediated ideas and images in the twenty-first century. They also reveal the plurality of Pentecostalism in Africa and keep in view the continent’s continuing denominational diversity. Studentsand scholars will find these topical studies to be impressive in scope.
Contributors: Barbara M. Cooper, Harri Englund, Marja Hinfelaar, Nicholas Kamau-Goro, Birgit Meyer, Michael Perry Kweku Okyerefo, Damaris Parsitau, Ruth Prince, James A. Pritchett, Ilana van Wyk
Contributors. Misty Bastian, Timothy Burke, Hildi Hendrickson, Deborah James, Adeline Masquelier, Elisha Renne, Johanna Schoss, Brad Weiss
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the longest occupied and least studied landscapes on earth. While scholarship has been attentive to images of nature made by the region’s explorers and settlers and to landscapes of the colonial era—public parks and game preserves, botanical gardens and urban plans—surprisingly little attention has been paid to spaces created by and for Africans themselves, from the precolonial era to the present.This book is a contribution to a small but growing effort to address this oversight. Its essays present a range of landscapes: pathways and cairns used by nomadic peoples to navigate through and mark significant places; anthropogenic or managed forests consecrated to ritual purposes of various kinds; tombs or palaces with significant landscape orientations and components; even monumental ceremonial and urban spaces, as at Great Zimbabwe or Djenne. They explore what we know of precolonial and later indigenous designed landscapes, how these landscapes were understood in the colonial era, and how they are being recuperated today for nation building, identity formation, and cultural affirmation. Contributors engage with the most critical issues in preservation today, from the conflicts between cultural heritage and biodiversity protection to the competition between local and international heritage agendas.
When the American reporter Henry Morton Stanley stepped out of the jungle in 1871 and doffed his pith helmet to the Scottish missionary-explorer Dr. David Livingstone, his greeting was to take on mythological proportions. But do any of us really know what his words meant at the time--and what they have come to mean since?Far from meeting in a remote thicket in "Darkest Africa," Stanley met Livingstone in the middle of a thriving Muslim community. The news of their encounter was transmitted around the globe, and Livingstone instantly became one of the world's first international celebrities.This book shows how urgently a handshake between a Briton and an American was needed to heal the rift between the two countries after the American Civil War. It uncovers for the first time the journeys that Livingstone's African servants made around Britain after his death, and it makes a case for Stanley's immense influence on the idea of the modern at the dawn of the twentieth century. Drawing on films, children's books, games, songs, cartoons, and TV shows, this book reveals the many ways our culture has remembered Stanley's phrase, while tracking the birth of an Anglo-American Christian imperialism that still sets the world agenda today.Dr. Livingstone, I Presume? is a story of conflict and paradox that also takes us into the extraordinary history of British engagement with Africa. Clare Pettitt shows both the bleakest side of imperialism and the strange afterlife of a historical event in popular mythmaking and music hall jokes.
China’s economic and political presence in Africa has expanded drastically over the past decade, especially in the sub-Saharan region. Convinced that Western attempts at providing aid to Africa have failed, Chinese officials have sought new forms of aid and invested billions to push further development in Africa. But some in the United States and around the word fear that China’s interest in sub-Saharan Africa could threaten previous efforts to protect human rights and to promote democracy in the region. The New Presence of China in Africa takes on this controversial issue, offering an overview of the Chinese model and evaluating whether it might serve as an example for future Western endeavors.
There are two common ways of writing about Africa, says Célestin Monga. One way blames Africa’s ills on the continent’s history of exploitation and oppression. The other way blames Africans themselves for failing to rise above poisonous national prejudices and resentments. But patronizing caricatures that reduce Africans to either victims or slackers do not get us very far in understanding the complexities and paradoxes of Africa today.A searching, often searing, meditation on ways of living in modern Africa, Nihilism and Negritude dispels the stereotypes that cloud how outsiders view the continent—and how Africans sometimes view themselves. In the role of a traveler-philosopher, Monga seeks to register “the picturesque absurdity of daily life” in his native Cameroon and across the continent. Whether navigating the chaotic choreography of street traffic or discoursing on the philosophy of café menus, he illuminates the patterns of reasoning behind everyday behaviors and offers new interpretations of what some observers have misunderstood as Africans’ resigned acceptance of suffering and violence.Monga does not wish to revive Negritude, the once-influential movement that sought to identify and celebrate allegedly unique African values. Rather, he seeks to show how daily life and thought—witnessed in dance and music, sensual pleasure and bodily experience, faith and mourning—reflect a form of nihilism developed to cope with chaos, poverty, and oppression. This is not the nihilism of despair, Monga insists, but the determination to find meaning and even joy in a life that would otherwise seem absurd.
“No condition is permanent,” a popular West African slogan, expresses Sara S. Berry’s theme: the obstacles to African agrarian development never stay the same. Her book explores the complex way African economy and society are tied to issues of land and labor, offering a comparative study of agrarian change in four rural economies in sub-Saharan Africa, including two that experienced long periods of expanding peasant production for export (southern Ghana and southwestern Nigeria), a settler economy (central Kenya), and a rural labor reserve (northeastern Zambia).
The resources available to African farmers have changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century. Berry asserts that the ways resources are acquired and used are shaped not only by the incorporation of a rural area into colonial (later national) and global political economies, but also by conflicts over culture, power, and property within and beyond rural communities. By tracing the various debates over rights to resources and their effects on agricultural production and farmers’ uses of income, Berry presents agrarian change as a series of on-going processes rather than a set of discrete “successes” and “failures.”
No Condition Is Permanent enriches the discussion of agrarian development by showing how multidisciplinary studies of local agrarian history can constructively contribute to development policy. The book is a contribution both to African agrarian history and to debates over the role of agriculture in Africa’s recent economic crises.
Vansina’s scope is breathtaking: he reconstructs the history of the forest lands that cover all or part of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Cabinda in Angola, discussing the original settlement of the forest by the western Bantu; the periods of expansion and innovation in agriculture; the development of metallurgy; the rise and fall of political forms and of power; the coming of Atlantic trade and colonialism; and the conquest of the rainforests by colonial powers and the destruction of a way of life.
“In 400 elegantly brilliant pages Vansina lays out five millennia of history for nearly 200 distinguishable regions of the forest of equatorial Africa around a new, subtly paradoxical interpretation of ‘tradition.’” —Joseph Miller, University of Virginia
“Vansina gives extended coverage . . . to the broad features of culture and the major lines of historical development across the region between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. It is truly an outstanding effort, readable, subtle, and integrative in its interpretations, and comprehensive in scope. . . . It is a seminal study . . . but it is also a substantive history that will long retain its usefulness.”—Christopher Ehret, American Historical Review
Privatizing Health Services in Africa analyzes the disappearance of public health in the form of state services in Africa, and the growth of a private market in health care that will serve primarily an urban elite. Meredeth Turshen considers the implications of introducing private insurance in countries with growing unemployment, a shrinking formal job sector, and a lack of social security programs or other safety nets. She debates the pros and cons of shifting the delivery of health services to the nongovernmental sector in the context of new concepts of the role of the state. Many of the schemes to privatize the purchase and sale of pharmaceuticals reverse decades of United Nations work challenging the power of the multinational drug industry. Turshen weighs these policy changes in light of the World Bank’s eclipse of the World Health Organization as the premier UN health policy agency. Until now, no book has disputed the World Bank’s plans to privatize health care in Africa. This is the first book-length analysis of policy changes in light of monetarism and globalization.
Throughout the book, Turshen examines the implications of privatization for gender equity. She also provides a case study of Zimbabwe and comparative material from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Her study makes a contribution to current debates on the impact of structural adjustment policies on health and the design of health services in the Third World.
Pursuing Justice in Africa focuses on the many actors pursuing many visions of justice across the African continent—their aspirations, divergent practices, and articulations of international and vernacular idioms of justice. The essays selected by editors Jessica Johnson and George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane engage with topics at the cutting edge of contemporary scholarship across a wide range of disciplines. These include activism, land tenure, international legal institutions, and postconflict reconciliation.
Building on recent work in sociolegal studies that foregrounds justice over and above concepts such as human rights and legal pluralism, the contributors grapple with alternative approaches to the concept of justice and its relationships with law, morality, and rights. While the chapters are grounded in local experiences, they also attend to the ways in which national and international actors and processes influence, for better or worse, local experiences and understandings of justice. The result is a timely and original addition to scholarship on a topic of major scholarly and pragmatic interest.
Felicitas Becker, Jonathon L. Earle, Patrick Hoenig, Stacey Hynd, Fred Nyongesa Ikanda, Ngeyi Ruth Kanyongolo, Anna Macdonald, Bernadette Malunga, Alan Msosa, Benson A. Mulemi, Holly Porter, Duncan Scott, Olaf Zenker.
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