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.
Elizabeth Foster examines how French imperialists and the Africans they ruled imagined the religious future of sub-Saharan Africa in the years just before and after decolonization. The story encompasses the transition to independence, Catholic contributions to black intellectual currents, and efforts to create an authentically “African” church.
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.
For over two centuries, Western scholars have discussed African philosophy and culture, often in disparaging, condescending terms, and always from an alien European perspective. Many Africans now share this perspective, having been trained in the western, empirical tradition. Makinde argues that, particularly in view of the costs and failings of western style culture, Africans must now mold their own modern culture by blending useful western practices with valuable indigenous African elements. Specifically, Makinde demonstrates the potential for the development of African philosophy and even African traditional medicine.
Following the lead of a number of countries with government policies of incorporating indigenous medicine with orthodox Western medicine, Makinde argues that traditional African practices should be taken seriously, both medically and scientifically. Further, he charges African scholars with the responsibility of investigating these and other elements of traditional African culture in order to dispel their mystery and secrecy through modern research and useful publications.
African Royal Court Art
Michèle Coquet University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress N7391.65.C66613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 709.67
In this visually stunning work, anthropologist Michèle Coquet presents the power and the brilliance of African court arts. Grounding her analysis in the social and historical context of traditional royalty systems, Coquet examines the diverse roles played by artisans, nobles, and kings in the production and use of royal objects. From the precolonial kingdoms of the Edo and the Yoruba, the Ashanti and the Igbo, Coquet reconstructs from a comparativist view the essential cultural connections between art, representation, and the king.
More than ornamentation, royal objects embodied the strength and status of African rulers. The gold-plated stools of the Ashanti, the delicately carved ivory bracelets of the Edo-these objects were meant not simply to adorn but to affirm and enhance the power and prestige of the wearer. Unlike the abstract style frequently seen in African ritual art, realism became manifest in courtly arts. Realism directly linked the symbolic value of the object-a portrait or relief-with the physical person of the king. The contours of the monarch's face, his political and military exploits rendered on palace walls, became visual histories, the work of art in essence corroborating the ruler's sovereign might.
Richly illustrated and wonderfully detailed, Coquet's influential volume offers both a splendid visual presentation and an authoritative analysis of African royal arts.
"[This] beautiful and exciting book emphasizes the skillful court art of the Benin, Dahomey, and the Kongo. A very interesting and unusual approach to the art of the continent that has been too easily situated 'outside of history.'"—Le Figaro
In western scholarship, Africa’s so-called sacred forests are often treated as the remains of primeval forests, ethnographic curiosities, or cultural relics from a static precolonial past. Their continuing importance in African societies, however, shows that this “relic theory” is inadequate for understanding current social and ecological dynamics. African Sacred Groves challenges dominant views of these landscape features by redefining the subject matter beyond the compelling yet uninformative term “sacred.” The term “ethnoforests” incorporates the environmental, social-political, and symbolic aspects of these forests without giving undue primacy to their religious values. This interdisciplinary
book by an international group of scholars and conservation practitioners provides a methodological framework for understanding these forests by examining their ecological characteristics, delineating how they relate to social dynamics and historical contexts, exploring their ideological aspects, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses as sites for community-based resource management and the conservation of cultural and biological diversity.
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
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most linguistically, culturally, and geographically diverse regions of the world, home to more than 2,000 languages. As in the rest of the world, Deaf people live throughout the widely varying sub-Saharan communities, equally rich in their signed languages. An emergent body of scholarly research on sub-Saharan signed languages (SSSL) and related Deaf community organizing has created the opportunity to gather together the informed perspectives presented in this revolutionary collection. Drawing examples from all regions of sub-Saharan Africa—Western, Eastern, Central, and Southern—16 contributors join the volume editors in illuminating the circumstances pertaining to cross-border, cross-regional, and global engagements in sub-Saharan Deaf communities.
This collection centers upon two interrelated purposes: to examine sub-Saharan African deaf people’s perspectives on citizenship, politics, and difference in relation to SSSL practices, and to analyze SSSL practices in relation to sociopolitical histories and social change interests (including addressing aspects of culture, gender, language usage, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and ability). The editors have organized these themes under three main sections, Sub-Saharan Signed Languages and Deaf Communities, The Politics of Mobilizing Difference, and Citizenship. Such wide-ranging subjects as the ethics of studying Kenyan signed language, sign language and Deaf communities in Eritrea, and overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers to HIV/AIDS education drive home the importance of the unique and varied research in this collection.
This volume examines the dynamic relationship between the body, clothing, and identity in sub-Saharan Africa and raises questions that have previously been directed almost exclusively to a Western and urban context. Unusual in its treatment of the body surface as a critical frontier in the production and authentification of identity, Clothing and Difference shows how the body and its adornment have been used to construct and contest social and individual identities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, and other African societies during both colonial and post-colonial times. Grounded in the insights of anthropology and history and influenced by developments in cultural studies, these essays investigate the relations between the personal and the public, and between ideas about the self and those about the family, gender, and national groups. They explore the bodily and material creation of the changing identities of women, spirits, youths, ancestors, and entrepreneurs through a consideration of topics such as fashion, spirit possession, commodity exchange, hygiene, and mourning. By taking African societies as its focus, Clothing and Difference demonstrates that factors considered integral to Western social development—heterogeneity, migration, urbanization, transnational exchange, and media representation—have existed elsewhere in different configurations and with different outcomes. With significance for a wide range of fields, including gender studies, cultural studies, art history, performance studies, political science, semiotics, economics, folklore, and fashion and textile analysis/design, this work provides alternative views of the structures underpinning Western systems of commodification, postmodernism, and cultural differentiation.
States in sub-Saharan Africa, as anywhere else, are vested with the authority to implement laws and sanction their application. But in spite of a growing emphasis in Africa on participatory approaches to legislation, little research has focused on the extent to which the public has become involved in policy making and whether the state regulations that have been produced have proven publicly beneficial. Offering a new anthropological perspective, Competing Norms fills that gap by exploring how people in sub-Saharan Africa view new regulations in the light of preexisting local norms with which new regulations often compete. A collection of international, interdisciplinary contributors discusses the competing local, state, and international norms as they have evolved over time, unfolding the intricate ambivalences and contradictions that often characterize state regulations.
Contemporary African Cinema
Olivier Barlet Michigan State University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1993.5.A35B36813 2016 | Dewey Decimal 791.4309967
African and notably sub-Saharan African film’s relative eclipse on the international scene in the early twenty-first century does not transcend the growth within the African genre. This time period has seen African cinema forging a new relationship with the real and implementing new aesthetic strategies, as well as the emergence of a post-colonial popular cinema.
Drawing on more than 1,500 articles, reviews, and interviews written over the past fifteen years, Olivier Barlet identifies the critical questions brought about by the evolution of African cinema. In the process, he offers us a personal and passionate vision, making this book an indispensable sum of thought that challenges preconceived ideas and enriches an approach to cinema as a critical art.
Concentrating on the Caribbean Basin and the coastal area of northeast South America, Yvonne Daniel considers three African-derived religious systems that rely heavily on dance behavior–-Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahamian Candomblé.
Combining her background in dance and anthropology to parallel the participant/scholar dichotomy inherent to dancing's "embodied knowledge," Daniel examines these misunderstood and oppressed performative dances in terms of physiology, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, ethics, and aesthetics.
"Dancing Wisdom offers the rare opportunity to see into the world of mystical spiritual belief as articulated and manifested in ritual by dance. Whether it is a Cuban Yoruba dance ritual, slave Ring Shout or contemporary Pentecostal Holy Ghost possession dancing shout, we are able to understand the relationship with spirit through dancing with the Divine. Yvonne Daniel's work synthesizes the cognitive empirical objectivity of an anthropologist with the passionate storytelling of a poetic artist in articulating how dance becomes prayer in ritual for Africans of the Diaspora."
--Leon T. Burrows, Protestant Chaplain, Smith College’
Do African men and women think about and act out their ethnicity in different ways? Most studies of ethnicity in Africa consider men’s experiences, but rarely have scholars examined whether women have the same idea of what it means to be, for example, Igbo or Tswana or Kikuyu. Or, studies have invoked the adage “women have no tribe” to indicate a woman’s loss of ethnicity as she marries into her husband’s community. This volume engages directly the issue of women’s ethnicity and makes stimulating contributions to debates about how and why women’s movements have a unifying role in African political organization and peace movements.
Drawing on extensive field research in many different regions of Africa, the contributors demonstrate in their essays that women do make choices about the forms of ethnicity they embrace, creating alternatives to male-centered definitions—in some cases rejecting a specific ethnic identity in favor of an interethnic alliance, in others reinterpreting the meaning of ethnicity within gendered domains, and in others performing ethnic power in gendered ways. Their analysis helps explain why African women may be more likely to champion interethnic political movements while men often promote an ethnicity based on martial masculinity. Bringing together anthropologists, historians, linguists, and political scientists, Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives offers a diverse and timely look at a neglected but important topic.
Winner of the 2016 Lavinia Dock Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing
Awarded first place in the 2016 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in the History and Public Policy category
The most dramatic growth of Christianity in the late twentieth century has occurred in Africa, where Catholic missions have played major roles. But these missions did more than simply convert Africans. Catholic sisters became heavily involved in the Church’s health services and eventually in relief and social justice efforts. In Into Africa, Barbra Mann Wall offers a transnational history that reveals how Catholic medical and nursing sisters established relationships between local and international groups, sparking an exchange of ideas that crossed national, religious, gender, and political boundaries.
Both a nurse and a historian, Wall explores this intersection of religion, medicine, gender, race, and politics in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the years following World War II, a period when European colonial rule was ending and Africans were building new governments, health care institutions, and education systems. She focuses specifically on hospitals, clinics, and schools of nursing in Ghana and Uganda run by the Medical Mission Sisters of Philadelphia; in Nigeria and Uganda by the Irish Medical Missionaries of Mary; in Tanzania by the Maryknoll Sisters of New York; and in Nigeria by a local Nigerian congregation. Wall shows how, although initially somewhat ethnocentric, the sisters gradually developed a deeper understanding of the diverse populations they served. In the process, their medical and nursing work intersected with critical social, political, and cultural debates that continue in Africa today: debates about the role of women in their local societies, the relationship of women to the nursing and medical professions and to the Catholic Church, the obligations countries have to provide care for their citizens, and the role of women in human rights.
A groundbreaking contribution to the study of globalization and medicine, Into Africa highlights the importance of transnational partnerships, using the stories of these nuns to enhance the understanding of medical mission work and global change.
Khaki & Blue: Mis Af#51
Anthony Clayton Ohio University Press, 1989 Library of Congress HV8267.A2C53 1989 | Dewey Decimal 363.209660097521
Drawing upon a survey of former police officers in the six British colonies of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Malawi, Clayton and Killingray examine the work of colonial law enforcement during the last years of British supremacy. In addition to such basic institutional information as the development of police forces from local militia, the training of African recruits, and the africanization of the police forces, the authors examine the typical activities of the colonial police. From investigations of stabbings and theft, to deportation of prostitutes and concern with smuggling, to enforcement of unpopular policies, the authors offer a profile not only of the institution of colonial law enforcement but also of the daily life of the village and the business activities which brought people into contact with the police.
Across Africa, mature women have for decades mobilized the power of their nakedness in political protest to shame and punish male adversaries. This insurrectionary nakedness, often called genital cursing, owes its cultural potency to the religious belief that spirits residing in women's bodies can be unleashed to cause misfortune in their targets, including impotence, disease, and death. In Naked Agency, Naminata Diabate analyzes these collective female naked protests in Africa and beyond to broaden understandings of agency and vulnerability. Drawing on myriad cultural texts from social media and film to journalism and fiction, Diabate uncovers how women create spaces of resistance during socio-political duress, including such events as the 2011 protests by Ivoirian women in Côte d’Ivoire and Paris as well as women's disrobing in Soweto to prevent the destruction of their homes. Through the concept of naked agency, Diabate explores fluctuating narratives of power and victimhood to challenge simplistic accounts of African women's helplessness and to show how they exercise political power in the biopolitical era.
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.
Nihilism and Negritude
Célestin Monga Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress DT14.M6513 2016 | Dewey Decimal 967.033
In a searching meditation on ways of living in modern Africa, Célestin Monga dispels the stereotypes that cloud how outsiders view the continent, and how Africans sometimes view themselves. He shows how dance, music, bodily experience, faith, and mourning reflect a nihilism that finds meaning and 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.
Distinguished scholar V. Y. Mudimbe assembles a lively tribute to Presence Africaine, the landmark African studies journal begun in 1947 Paris. While it celebrates the project's forty-year history, The Surreptitious Speech does not naively canonize the journal but rather offers a vibrant discussion and critical reading of its context, characteristics, and significance.
Today the colonial empires of the world are shrinking, and the new nations which have emerged from the colonial past are rapidly developing into an important force in international affairs—the "third world." They are faced by a common problem, the urgent necessity to transform a peasant society into a modern industrial economy, and they are united by a common outlook, absolute opposition to all forms of colonialism and neocolonialism.
In this work Peter Worsley analyzes the unique political forms that have evolved as a result of these two basic conditions. In his view the third world has rejected both of the great ideologies of today. Their new solutions are unique in world history, being based on populism, socialism, and, often, the one-party state, which, although anathema to the Western liberal, is a natural development in societies united by the common enemy of colonialism.
"No one seriously concerned with the greatest problem of our time, the division of the world between the developed, industrialized, 'affluent' countries and les nations prolétaires, can afford to miss this book. . . . Professor Worsley has succeeded in giving us more solid information about underdeveloped parts of the world than can be found in any other book of comparable length."—The Times Literary Supplement
"Peter Worsley . . . has written an excellent descriptive analysis of the evolution and present state of a third force in world politics. Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have . . . given society not only a new philosophy with new goals but charismatic philosophers who have the potential to make the philosophy of the third world a vital presence to be reckoned with. . . . a brilliant book."—Peter Schwab, Journal of Modern African Studies
This 41th volume of the ASLU series examines perspectives on maritime and underwater cultural heritage (MUCH) in southern Africa and proposes new management approaches to advance protection and public engagement. By redefining the maritime historical narratives in countries that have predominantly interpreted their maritime past through colonial shipwrecks, it is possible to create an environment in which stakeholders become active participants in heritage management. The application of a broad maritime cultural landscape perspective that blurs the lines between the natural and cultural, tangible and intangible, and local and global binaries that are often applied to MUCH, results in a community-driven, relevant approach to heritage management. Appropriate management strategies are supported by balancing western based heritage values with alternative approaches to heritage conservation. Case studies illustrate the evolution and efficacy of this approach
Witchcraft Dialogues analyzes the complex manner in which human beings construct, experience, and think about the “occult.” It brings together anthropologists, philosophers, and sociologists, from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, to engage the metaphysical properties of “witchcraft” and “sorcery” and to explore their manifestations in people’s lived experiences.
While many Africanist scholars shun the analysis of “witchcraft” as an appropriate domain of investigation, the experiences, thoughts, activities, and powers that “witchcraft” encompasses have become increasingly the source of interest and debate. Concepts of witchcraft and the phenomena to which they are applied express something fundamental to the human condition and have their equation in the logic of other human practices such as racism and its various crafts. Thus, the focus on “witchcraft” is not just a concern with the occult, but a manifestation of the convergence of interest in mediating and transcending disciplinary domains.
The contributors to this volume embrace the challenge of exploring “witchcraft” as a mode of experiencing and explaining human circumstances as well as confronting the limitations of their own intellectual traditions and paradigms. The range of their explorations takes us in new directions, making use not only of their academic training but also of their personal experiences, to reframe the conceptual terrain of the “occult” and the epistemological orientations of their various academic fields of inquiry.