The influx of African migrants into Europe in recent years has raised important issues about changing labor economies, new technologies of border control, and the effects of armed conflict. But attention to such broad questions often obscures a fundamental fact of migration: its effects on ordinary life. Affective Circuits brings together essays by an international group of well-known anthropologists to place the migrant family front and center. Moving between Africa and Europe, the book explores the many ways migrants sustain and rework family ties and intimate relationships at home and abroad. It demonstrates how their quotidian efforts—on such a mass scale—contribute to a broader process of social regeneration.
The contributors point to the intersecting streams of goods, people, ideas, and money as they circulate between African migrants and their kin who remain back home. They also show the complex ways that emotions become entangled in these exchanges. Examining how these circuits operate in domains of social life ranging from child fosterage to binational marriages, from coming-of-age to healing and religious rituals, the book also registers the tremendous impact of state officials, laws, and policies on migrant experience. Together these essays paint an especially vivid portrait of new forms of kinship at a time of both intense mobility and ever-tightening borders.
In 2015, an unprecedented number of people from Africa and the Near East took flight and sought refuge in Europe. By the end of that year, some 1.8 million migrants had arrived in the EU, the vast majority having come across the Mediterranean. Since then, despite measures to host some of the people fleeing the Syrian war in Turkey and concurrent attempts to physically seal off some borders in Eastern Europe, the numbers of refugees traveling to Europe has continued to top half a million annually. A mass migration on a scale not witnessed in modern times is underway, and it has presented Europe with its greatest challenge of the twenty-first century.
Asfa-Wossen Asserate argues here that building higher fences or finding more effective methods of integration will only, in the long term, perpetuate rather than solve the problems associated with these large numbers of displaced refugees. We need to realize that we are only treating the symptoms of an oncoming catastrophe and that, if we are to respond to mass migration, we will ultimately have to understand its causes. African Exodus places its emphasis firmly on the causes of the refugee crisis, which are to be found not least in Europe itself, and charts ways in which we might deal with it effectively in the long term.
In the course of this analysis, Asserate asks why our view of Africa—a troubled continent, but rich in so many ways—is so distorted. How can we combat the corrupt, authoritarian regimes that stymie progress and development? Why are millions fleeing to Europe? How is the EU complicit in the migration crisis? And finally, in practical terms: what can be done, and what prospects does the future hold?
This volume will revise the way we look at the modern populations of Latin America and North America by providing a totally new view of the history of Native American and African American peoples throughout the hemisphere. Africans and Native Americans explores key issues relating to the evolution of racial terminology and European colonialists' perceptions of color, analyzing the development of color classification systems and the specific evolution of key terms such as black, mulatto, and mestizo, which no longer carry their original meanings. Jack Forbes presents strong evidence that Native American and African contacts began in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean and that Native Americans may have crossed the Atlantic long before Columbus.
What differentiates emigration from exile? This book delves theoretically and practically into this core question of population movements. Tracing the shifts of Africans into and out of Equatorial Guinea, it explores a small former Spanish colony in central Africa. Throughout its history, many inhabitants of Equatorial Guinea were forced to leave, whether because of the slave trade of the early nineteenth century or the political upheavals of the twentieth century. Michael Ugarte examines the writings of Equatorial Guinean exiles and migrants, considering the underlying causes of such moves and arguing that the example of Equatorial Guinea is emblematic of broader dynamics of cultural exchange in a postcolonial world.
Based on personal stories of people forced to leave and those who left of their own accord, Africans in Europe captures the nuanced realities and widespread impact of mobile populations. Ugarte illustrates the global material inequalities that occur when groups and populations migrate from their native land of colonization to other countries and regions that are often the lands of the former colonizers. By focusing on the geographical, emotional, and intellectual dynamics of Equatorial Guinea's human movements, readers gain an inroad to "the consciousness of an age" and an understanding of the global realities that will define the cultural, economic, and political currents of the twenty-first century.
The Atlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in history, yet most of its stories are lost. Randy Sparks examines the few remaining reconstructed experiences of West Africans who lived in the South between 1740 and 1860. Their stories highlight the diversity of struggles that confronted every African who arrived on American shores.
Africans to Spanish America expands the diaspora framework to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African diaspora in the Spanish empires. Analysis of the regions of Mexico and the Andes opens up new questions of community formation that incorporated Spanish legal strategies in secular and ecclesiastical institutions as well as articulations of multiple African identities. The volume is arranged around three sub-themes: identity construction in the Americas; the struggle by enslaved and free people to present themselves as civilized, Christian, and resistant to slavery; and issues of cultural exclusion and inclusion.
Contributors are Joan Cameron Bristol, Nancy E. van Deusen, Leo Garafalo, Herbert S. Klein, Charles Beatty Medina, Karen Y. Morrison, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Frank "Trey" Proctor, and Michele B. Reid.
The Black Butterfly focuses on the slavery writings of three of Brazil’s literary giants—Machado de Assis, Castro Alves, and Euclides da Cunha. These authors wrote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as Brazil moved into and then through the 1888 abolition of slavery. Assis was Brazil’s most experimental novelist; Alves was a Romantic poet with passionate liberationist politics, popularly known as “the poet of the slaves”; and da Cunha is known for the masterpiece Os Sertões (The Backlands), a work of genius that remains strangely neglected in the scholarship of transatlantic slavery.
Wood finds that all three writers responded to the memory of slavery in ways that departed from their counterparts in Europe and North America, where emancipation has typically been depicted as a moment of closure. He ends by setting up a wider literary context for his core authors by introducing a comparative study of their great literary abolitionist predecessors Luís Gonzaga Pinto da Gama and Joaquim Nabuco. The Black Butterfly is a revolutionary text that insists Brazilian culture has always refused a clean break between slavery and its aftermath. Brazilian slavery thus emerges as a living legacy subject to continual renegotiation and reinvention.
Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah O’Toole examines the construction of a casta (caste) system under the Spanish government, and how this system was negotiated and employed by Andeans and Africans.
Royal and viceregal authorities defined legal identities of “Indian” and “Black” to separate the two groups and commit each to specific trades and labor. Although they were legally divided, Andeans and Africans freely interacted and depended on each other in their daily lives. Thus, the caste system was defined at both the top and bottom of society. Within each caste, there were myriad subcategories that also determined one’s standing.
The imperial legal system also strictly delineated civil rights. Andeans were afforded greater protections as a “threatened” native population. Despite this, with the crown’s approval during the rise of the sugar trade, Andeans were driven from their communal property and conscripted into a forced labor program. They soon rebelled, migrating away from the plantations to the highlands. Andeans worked as artisans, muleteers, and laborers for hire, and used their legal status as Indians to gain political representation.
As slaves, Africans were subject to the judgments of local authorities, which nearly always sided with the slaveholder. Africans soon articulated a rhetoric of valuation, to protect themselves in disputes with their captors and in slave trading negotiations. To combat the ongoing diaspora from Africa, slaves developed strong kinship ties and offered communal support to the newly arrived.
Bound Lives offers an entirely new perspective on racial identities in colonial Peru. It highlights the tenuous interactions of an imperial power, indigenous group, and enslaved population, and shows how each moved to establish its own power base and modify the existing system to its advantage, while also shaping the nature of colonialism itself.
Brazilian-African Diaspora in Ghana is a fresh approach, challenging both pre-existing and established notions of the African Diaspora by engaging new regions, conceptualizations, and articulations that move the field forward. This book examines the untold story of freed slaves from Brazil who thrived socially, culturally, and economically despite the challenges they encountered after they settled in Ghana. Kwame Essien goes beyond the one-dimensional approach that only focuses on British abolitionists’ funding of freed slaves’ resettlements in Africa. The new interpretation of reverse migrations examines the paradox of freedom in discussing how emancipated Brazilian-Africans came under threat from British colonial officials who introduced stringent land ordinances that deprived the freed Brazilian- Africans from owning land, particularly “Brazilian land.” Essien considers anew contention between the returnees and other entities that were simultaneously vying for control over social, political, commercial, and religious spaces in Accra and tackles the fluidity of memory and how it continues to shape Ghana’s history. The ongoing search for lost connections with the support of the Brazilian government—inspiring multiple generations of Tabom (offspring of the returnees) to travel across the Atlantic and back, especially in the last decade—illustrates the unending nature of the transatlantic diaspora journey and its impacts.
Decolonizing the Republic is a conscientious discussion of the African diaspora in Paris in the post–World War II period. This book is the first to examine the intersection of black activism and the migration of Caribbeans and Africans to Paris during this era and, as Patrick Manning notes in the foreword, successfully shows how “black Parisians—in their daily labors, weekend celebrations, and periodic protests—opened the way to ‘decolonizing the Republic,’ advancing the respect for their rights as citizens.” Contrasted to earlier works focusing on the black intellectual elite, Decolonizing the Republic maps the formation of a working-class black France. Readers will better comprehend how those peoples of African descent who settled in France and fought to improve their socioeconomic conditions changed the French perception of Caribbean and African identity, laying the foundation for contemporary black activists to deploy a new politics of social inclusion across the demographics of race, class, gender, and nationality. This book complicates conventional understandings of decolonization, and in doing so opens a new and much-needed chapter in the history of the black Atlantic.
Africans are among the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States. Although they are racially and ethnically diverse, few studies have examined how these differences affect their patterns of incorporation into society. This book is the first to highlight the role of race and ethnicity, Arab ethnicity in particular, in shaping the experiences of African immigrants. It demonstrates that American conceptions of race result in significant inequalities in the ways in which African immigrants are socially integrated. Thomas argues that suggestions that Black Africans are model-minorities who have overcome the barriers of race are misleading, showing that Black and Arab-ethnicity Africans systematically experience less favorable socioeconomic outcomes than their White African counterparts. Overall, the book makes three critical arguments. First, historical and contemporary constructions of race have important implications for understanding the dynamics of African immigration and settlement in the United States. Second, there are significant racial inequalities in the social and economic incorporation of contemporary African immigrants. Finally, Arab ethnicity has additional implications for understanding intra-racial disparities in incorporation among contemporary African immigrants. In general, these arguments are foundational for understanding the diversity of African immigrant experiences.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries African and pseudo-African performers were displayed as curiosities throughout Europe and America. Appearing in circuses, ethnographic exhibitions, and traveling shows, these individuals and troupes drew large crowds. As Bernth Lindfors shows, the showmen, impresarios, and even scientists who brought supposedly representative inhabitants of the "Dark Continent" to a gaping public often selected the performers for their sensational impact. Spotlighting and exaggerating physical, mental, or cultural differences, the resulting displays reinforced pernicious racial stereotypes and left a disturbing legacy.
Using period illustrations and texts, Early African Entertainments Abroad illuminates the mindset of the era's largely white audiences as they viewed wax models of Africans with tails and watched athletic competitions showcasing hungry cannibals. White spectators were thus assured of their racial superiority. And blacks were made to appear less than fully human precisely at the time when abolitionists were fighting to end slavery and establish equality.
France experienced a period of crisis following World War I when the relationship between the nation and its colonies became a subject of public debate. The French Imperial Nation-State focuses on two intersecting movements that redefined imperial politics—colonial humanism led by administrative reformers in West Africa and the Paris-based Negritude project, comprising African and Caribbean elites.
Gary Wilder develops a sophisticated account of the contradictory character of colonial government and examines the cultural nationalism of Negritude as a multifaceted movement rooted in an alternative black public sphere. He argues that interwar France must be understood as an imperial nation-state—an integrated sociopolitical system that linked a parliamentary republic to an administrative empire. An interdisciplinary study of colonial modernity combining French history, colonial studies, and social theory, The French Imperial Nation-State will compel readers to revise conventional assumptions about the distinctions between republicanism and racism, metropolitan and colonial societies, and national and transnational processes.
In the 1990s a nationwide crime wave overtook Côte d’Ivoire. The Ivoirian police failed to control the situation, so a group of poor, politically marginalized, and mostly Muslim men took on the role of the people’s protectors as part of a movement they called Benkadi. These men were dozos—hunters skilled in ritual sacrifice—and they applied their hunting and occult expertise, along with the ethical principles implicit in both forms of knowledge, to the tracking and capturing of thieves. Meanwhile, as Benkadi emerged, so too did the ethnic, regional, and religious divisions that would culminate in Côte d’Ivoire’s 2002–07 rebellion.
Hunting the Ethical State reveals how dozos worked beyond these divisions to derive their new roles as enforcers of security from their ritual hunting ethos. Much as they used sorcery to shape-shift and outwit game, they now transformed into unofficial police, and their ritual networks became police bureaucracies. Though these Muslim and northern-descended men would later resist the state, Joseph Hellweg demonstrates how they briefly succeeded at making a place for themselves within it. Ultimately, Hellweg interprets Benkadi as a flawed but ingenious and thoroughly modern attempt by non-state actors to reform an African state.
Over the last four decades, immigration from the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa to the U. S. has increased rapidly. In several states, African immigrants are now major drivers of growth in the black population. While social scientists and commentators have noted that these black immigrants’ social and economic outcomes often differ from those of their native-born counterparts, few studies have carefully analyzed the mechanisms that produce these disparities. In Immigration and the Remaking of Black America, sociologist and demographer Tod Hamilton shows how immigration is reshaping black America. He weaves together interdisciplinary scholarship with new data to enhance our understanding of the causes of socioeconomic stratification among both the native-born and newcomers.
Hamilton demonstrates that immigration from the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa is driven by selective migration, meaning that newcomers from these countries tend to have higher educational attainment than those who stay behind. As a result, they arrive in the U.S. with some advantages over native-born blacks, and, in some cases, over whites. He also shows the importance of historical context: prior to the Civil Rights Movement, black immigrants’ socioeconomic outcomes resembled native-born blacks’ much more closely, regardless of their educational attainment in their country of origin. Today, however, certain groups of black immigrants have better outcomes than native-born black Americans—such as lower unemployment rates and higher rates of homeownership—in part because they immigrated at a time of expanding opportunities for minorities and women in general. Hamilton further finds that rates of marriage and labor force participation among native-born blacks that move away from their birth states resemble those of many black immigrants, suggesting that some disparities within the black population stem from processes associated with migration, rather than from nativity alone.
Hamilton argues that failing to account for this diversity among the black population can lead to incorrect estimates of the social progress made by black Americans and the persistence of racism and discrimination. He calls for future research on racial inequality to disaggregate different black populations. By richly detailing the changing nature of black America, Immigration and the Remaking of Black America helps scholars and policymakers to better understand the complexity of racial disparities in the twenty-first century.
Issa Boureima is a young, hip African street vendor who sells knock-off designer bags and hats in an open-air market on 125th street in Harlem. His goal is to become a "Jaguar"—a West African term for a keen entrepreneur able to spot trends and turn a profit in any marketplace. This dynamic world, largely invisible to mainstream culture, is the backdrop of this timely novel.
Faced with economic hardship in Africa, Issa has left his home in Niger and his new wife, Khadija, to seek his fortune in America. Devout Muslims, the couple has entered into a "modern" marriage: Khadija is permitted to run her own business, and Issa has agreed not to take additional wives. Issa quickly adapts to his new surroundings, however, and soon attracts several girlfriends. Aided by a network of immigrants, he easily slips through gaps in the "system" and extends his stay in America indefinitely. Following a circuit of African-American cultural festivals across America, he marvels at African-Americans' attitudes toward Africa, and wonders if he'll ever return to Niger. Meanwhile, Khadija also struggles to make it—to become a "Jaguar"—as she combats loneliness, hostile in-laws, and a traditional, male-dominated society. The eventual success of her dry goods shop and her growing affection for a helpful Arab merchant make her wonder if she'll ever join Issa in America.
Drawing on his own decades of experience among Africans both in Niger and in New York, Paul Stoller offers enormous insight into the complexities of contemporary Africa. Alive with detail, Jaguar is a story of triumph and disappointment, of dislocation and longing, and of life lived in a world that no longer recognizes boundaries.
In 1895 three African chiefs, dressed in the finest British clothing available, began a tour of the British Isles. That tour foiled Cecil Rhodes' grand plan for Africa and culminated in the Chamberlain Settlement, the document that indirectly led to the independence of present-day Botswana. King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen is the story of this bizarre journey, one of the most neglected events in British Victorian history, here revealed for the first time in its full detail and cultural complexity.
The chiefs initially went to England to persuade Queen Victoria not to give their lands to ruthless Rhodes and his British South Africa Company. Abandoned by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Joseph Chamberlain, and denied an audience with the queen, the three rulers decided to tour the British Isles to plead their case to the populace. Appealing to the middle-class morality of Victorian society, the chiefs were remarkably successful in gaining support, eventually swaying Chamberlain into drafting the agreement that secured their territories against the encroachment of Rhodesia.
Historian Neil Parsons has reconstructed this journey with the help of African archival materials and news clippings from British papers, garnered from the clippings service the chiefs had the foresight to employ. In equal parts narrative of pilgrimage, voyage of discovery, and colonial resistance, King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen provides a view from the other side of colonialism and imperialism. It demonstrates the nuances of cultural and religious interaction between Africans and Europeans, and it does so with the richness and depth of a fully realized novel.
Listening to Images
Tina M. Campt Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress TR183.C366 2017
In Listening to Images Tina M. Campt explores a way of listening closely to photography, engaging with lost archives of historically dismissed photographs of black subjects taken throughout the black diaspora. Engaging with photographs through sound, Campt looks beyond what one usually sees and attunes her senses to the other affective frequencies through which these photographs register. She hears in these photos—which range from late nineteenth-century ethnographic photographs of rural African women and photographs taken in an early twentieth-century Cape Town prison to postwar passport photographs in Birmingham, England and 1960s mug shots of the Freedom Riders—a quiet intensity and quotidian practices of refusal. Originally intended to dehumanize, police, and restrict their subjects, these photographs convey the softly buzzing tension of colonialism, the low hum of resistance and subversion, and the anticipation and performance of a future that has yet to happen. Engaging with discourses of fugitivity, black futurity, and black feminist theory, Campt takes these tools of colonialism and repurposes them, hearing and sharing their moments of refusal, rupture, and imagination.
In the South, colonialism threw together three peoples who each played important roles in the creation of a new kind of society. Making an Atlantic World explores how Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans understood the landscapes they inhabited and how, after contact, their views of the world had to accommodate and then accept the presence of the others.
Based on the notion of “founding peoples” rather than “founding fathers,” Making an Atlantic World uses an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to interpret the Colonial South. James Taylor Carson uses historical ethnogeography-a new methodology that brings together the study of history, anthropology, and geography. This method seeks to incorporate concepts of space and landscape with social perspectives to give students and scholars a better understanding of the forces that shaped the development of a synthesized southern culture.
Unlike previous studies, which considered colonization as a contest over land but rarely considered what the land was and how people understood their relationships to it, Making an Atlantic World shows how the founding peoples perceived their world before contact and how they responded to contact and colonization.
The author contends that each of the three groups involved-the first people, the invading people, and the enslaved people-possessed a particular worldview that they had to adapt to each other to face the challenges brought about by contact.
James Taylor Carson is associate professor of history at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of <i>Searching for the Bright Path: The Mississippi Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal</i>. His articles and reviews have appeared in <i>Ethnohistory, Journal of Mississippi History, Agricultural History, Journal of Military History</i>, and other publications.
How does African literature written in French change the way we think about nationalism, colonialism, and postcolonialism? How does it imagine the encounter between Africans and French? And what does the study of African literature bring to the fields of literary and cultural studies? Christopher L. Miller explores these and other questions in Nationalists and Nomads.
Miller ranges from the beginnings of francophone African literature—which he traces not to the 1930s Negritude movement but to the largely unknown, virulently radical writings of Africans in Paris in the 1920s—to the evolving relations between African literature and nationalism in the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout he aims to offset the contemporary emphasis on the postcolonial at the expense of the colonial, arguing that both are equally complex, with powerful ambiguities. Arguing against blanket advocacy of any one model (such as nationalism or hybridity) to explain these ambiguities, Miller instead seeks a form of thought that can read and recognize the realities of both identity and difference.
It's hard to imagine an issue or image more riveting than Black Germans during the Third Reich. Yet accounts of their lives are virtually nonexistent, despite the fact that they lived through a regime dedicated to racial purity.
Tina Campt's Other Germans tells the story of this largely forgotten group of individuals, with important distinctions from other accounts. Most strikingly, Campt centers her arguments on race, rather than anti-semitism. She also provides oral history as background for her study, interviewing two Black Germans for the book.
In the end, the author comes face to face with an inevitable question: Is there a relationship between the history of Black Germans and those of other black communities?
The answers to Campt's questions make Other Germans essential reading in the emerging study of what it meant to be black and German in the context of a society that looked at anyone with non-German blood as racially impure at best.
In People of Faith, Mariza de Carvalho Soares reconstructs the everyday lives of Mina slaves transported in the eighteenth century to Rio de Janeiro from the western coast of Africa, particularly from modern-day Benin. She describes a Catholic lay brotherhood formed by the enslaved Mina congregants of a Rio church, and she situates the brotherhood in a panoramic setting encompassing the historical development of the Atlantic slave trade in West Africa and the ethnic composition of Mina slaves in eighteenth-century Rio. Although Africans from the Mina Coast constituted no more than ten percent of the slave population of Rio, they were a strong presence in urban life at the time. Soares analyzes the role that Catholicism, and particularly lay brotherhoods, played in Africans’ construction of identities under slavery in colonial Brazil. As in the rest of the Portuguese empire, black lay brotherhoods in Rio engaged in expressions of imperial pomp through elaborate festivals, processions, and funerals; the election of kings and queens; and the organization of royal courts. Drawing mainly on ecclesiastical documents, Soares reveals the value of church records for historical research.
Set during the last years of Spanish rule in Equatorial Guinea, Shadows of Your Black Memory presents the voice of a young African man reflecting on his childhood. Through the idealistic eyes of the nameless protagonist, Donato Ndongo portrays the cultural conflicts between Africa and Spain, ancestral worship competing with Catholicism, and tradition giving way to modernity. The backdrop of a nation moving toward a troubled independence parallels the young man’s internal struggle to define his own identity.
Now in paperback, Shadows of Your Black Memory masterfully exposes the cultural fissures of Ndongo’s native land. “Spanish Guinea” is a heated, sensual landscape with exotic animals and trees, ancient rituals, ghosts, saints, and sinners. We come to know the narrator’s extended family, the people of his village, merchants, sorcerers, and Catholic priests; we see them critically at times, even humorously, yet always with compassion and a magical dignity. Michael Ugarte’s sensitive translation captures the spirit of the original Spanish prose and makes Ndongo’s powerful, gripping tale available to English-speaking readers for the first time.
In Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula, Benjamin Reilly illuminates a previously unstudied phenomenon: the large-scale employment of people of African ancestry as slaves in agricultural oases within the Arabian Peninsula. The key to understanding this unusual system, Reilly argues, is the prevalence of malaria within Arabian Peninsula oases and drainage basins, which rendered agricultural lands in Arabia extremely unhealthy for people without genetic or acquired resistance to malarial fevers. In this way, Arabian slave agriculture had unexpected similarities to slavery as practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil.
This book synthesizes for the first time a body of historical and ethnographic data about slave-based agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula. Reilly uses an innovative methodology to analyze the limited historical record and a multidisciplinary approach to complicate our understandings of the nature of work in an area that is popularly thought of solely as desert. This work makes significant contributions both to the global literature on slavery and to the environmental history of the Middle East—an area that has thus far received little attention from scholars.
Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans was first published in 1996. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In this trenchant critique, Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui demonstrates the failure of international law to address adequately the issues surrounding African self-determination during decolonization. Challenging the view that the only requirement for decolonization is the elimination of the legal instruments that provided for direct foreign rule, Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans probes the universal claims of international law.
Grovogui begins by documenting the creation of the "image of Africa" in European popular culture, examining its construction by conquerors and explorers, scientists and social scientists, and the Catholic Church. Using the case of Namibia to illuminate the general context of Africa, he demonstrates that the principles and rules recognized in international law today are not universal, but instead reflect relations of power and the historical dominance of specific European states.
Grovogui argues that two important factors have undermined the universal applicability of international law: its dependence on Western culture and the way that international law has been structured to preserve Western hegemony in the international order. This dependence on Europeandominated models and legal apparatus has resulted in the paradox that only rights sanctioned by the former colonial powers have been accorded to the colonized, regardless of the latter's needs. In the case of Namibia, Grovogui focuses on the discursive strategies used by the West and their southern African allies to control the legal debate, as well as the tactics used by the colonized to recast the terms of the discussion.
Grovogui blends critical legal theory, historical research, political economy, and cultural studies with profound knowledge of contemporary Africa in general and Namibia in particular. Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans represents the very best of the new scholarship, moving beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries to illuminate issues of decolonization in Africa.
Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui is assistant professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University. He previously practiced law in his native Guinea.
Subject to Colonialism provides a much needed revisionist perspective on the way twentieth-century Africa is viewed and analyzed among scholars. Employing literary, historical, and anthropological techniques, Gaurav Desai attempts to generate a new understanding of issues that permeate discussions of Africa by disrupting the centrality of postcolonial texts and focusing instead on the cultural and intellectual production of colonial Africans. In particular, Desai calls for a reevaluation of the “colonial library”—that set of representations and texts that have collectively “invented” Africa as a locus of difference and alterity. Presenting colonialism not as a singular, monolithic structure but rather as a practice frought with contradictions and tensions, Desai works to historicize the foundation of postcolonialism by decentering both canonical texts and privileged categories of analysis such as race, capitalism, empire, and nation. To achieve this, he focuses on texts that construct or reform—rather than merely reflect—colonialism, placing explicit emphasis on processes, performances, and the practices of everyday life. Reading these texts not merely for the content of their assertions but also for how they were created and received, Desai looks at works such as Jomo Kenyatta’s ethnography of the Gikuyu and Akiga Sai’s history of the Tiv and makes a particular plea for the canonical recuperation of African women’s writing. Scholars in African history, literature, and philosophy, postcolonial studies, literary criticism, and anthropology will welcome publication of this book.
"Situating literature and anthropology in mutual interrogation, Miller's...book actually performs what so many of us only call for. Nowhere have all the crucial issues been brought together with the sort of critical sophistication it displays."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
". . . a superb cross-disciplinary analysis."—Y. Mudimbe
Only decades ago, the population of Guangzhou was almost wholly Chinese. Today, it is a truly global city, a place where people from around the world go to make new lives, find themselves, or further their careers. A large number of these migrants are small-scale traders from Africa who deal in Chinese goods—often knockoffs or copies of high-end branded items—to send back to their home countries. In The World in Guangzhou, Gordon Mathews explores the question of how the city became a center of “low-end globalization” and shows what we can learn from that experience about similar transformations elsewhere in the world.
Through detailed ethnographic portraits, Mathews reveals a world of globalization based on informality, reputation, and trust rather than on formal contracts. How, he asks, can such informal relationships emerge between two groups—Chinese and sub-Saharan Africans—that don't share a common language, culture, or religion? And what happens when Africans move beyond their status as temporary residents and begin to put down roots and establish families?
Full of unforgettable characters, The World in Guangzhou presents a compelling account of globalization at ground level and offers a look into the future of urban life as transnational connections continue to remake cities around the world.