Landmark archaeological excavations that radically revise the early history of Africa.For the past fifty years, Charles Bonnet has been excavating sites in present-day Sudan and Egypt that point to the existence of a sophisticated ancient black African civilization thriving alongside the Egyptians. In The Black Kingdom of the Nile, he gathers the results of these excavations to reveal the distinctively indigenous culture of the black Nubian city of Kerma, the capital of the Kingdom of Kush. This powerful and complex political state organized trade to the Mediterranean basin and built up a military strong enough to resist Egyptian forces.Further explorations at Dukki Gel, north of Kerma, reveal a major Nubian fortified city of the mid-second millennium BCE featuring complex round and oval structures. Bonnet also found evidence of the revival of another powerful black Nubian society, seven centuries after Egypt conquered Kush around 1500 BCE, when he unearthed seven life-size granite statues of Black Pharaohs (ca. 744–656 BCE). Bonnet’s discoveries have shaken our understanding of the origins and sophistication of early civilization in the heart of black Africa.Until Bonnet began his work, no one knew the extent and power of the Nubian state or the existence of the Black Pharaohs who presided successfully over their lands. The political, military, and commercial achievements revealed in these Nubian sites challenge our long-held belief that the Egyptians were far more advanced than their southern neighbors and that black kingdoms were effectively vassal states. Charles Bonnet’s discovery of this lost black kingdom forces us to rewrite the early history of the African continent.
Contributors. William Balée, James R. Barborak, Peter Boomgaard, Larissa V. Brown, Gerardo Budowski, John Dargavel, Warren Dean, Silvia del Amo R., Elizabeth Graham, J. Régis Guillaumon, Rhena Hoffmann, Sally P. Horn, Sebastião Kengen, Herman W. Konrad, Mary Pamela Lehmann, Robert D. Leier, Murdo J. MacLeod, M. Patricia Marchak, Elinor G. K. Melville, David M. Pendergast, Susan M. Pierce, Leslie E. Sponsel, Richard P. Tucker, Terry West
Congo Style presents a postcolonial approach to discussing the visual culture of two now-notorious regimes: King Leopold II’s Congo Colony and the state sites of Mobutu Sese Seko’s totalitarian Zaïre. Readers are brought into the living remains of sites once made up of ambitious modernist architecture and art in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. From the total artworks of Art Nouveau to the aggrandizing sites of post-independence Kinshasa, Congo Style investigates the experiential qualities of man-made environments intended to entertain, delight, seduce, and impress.
Death in the Congo is a gripping account of a murder that became one of the defining events in postcolonial African history. It is no less the story of the untimely death of a national dream, a hope-filled vision very different from what the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo became in the second half of the twentieth century.When Belgium relinquished colonial control in June 1960, a charismatic thirty-five-year-old African nationalist, Patrice Lumumba, became prime minister of the new republic. Yet stability immediately broke down. A mutinous Congolese Army spread havoc, while Katanga Province in southeast Congo seceded altogether. Belgium dispatched its military to protect its citizens, and the United Nations soon intervened with its own peacekeeping troops. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, both the Soviet Union and the United States maneuvered to turn the crisis to their Cold War advantage. A coup in September, secretly aided by the UN, toppled Lumumba’s government. In January 1961, armed men drove Lumumba to a secluded corner of the Katanga bush, stood him up beside a hastily dug grave, and shot him. His rule as Africa’s first democratically elected leader had lasted ten weeks.More than fifty years later, the murky circumstances and tragic symbolism of Lumumba’s assassination still trouble many people around the world. Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick pursue events through a web of international politics, revealing a tangled history in which many people—black and white, well-meaning and ruthless, African, European, and American—bear responsibility for this crime.
A Rwandan proverb says “Defeat is the only bad news.” For Rwandans living under colonial rule, winning called not only for armed confrontation, but also for a battle of wits—and not only with foreigners, but also with each other. In Defeat Is the Only Bad News Alison Des Forges recounts the ambitions, strategies, and intrigues of an African royal court under Yuhi Musinga, the Rwandan ruler from 1896 to 1931. These were turbulent years for Rwanda, when first Germany and then Belgium pursued an aggressive plan of colonization there. At the time of the Europeans’ arrival, Rwanda was also engaged in a succession dispute after the death of one of its most famous kings. Against this backdrop, the Rwandan court became the stage for a drama of Shakespearean proportions, filled with deceit, shrewd calculation, ruthless betrayal, and sometimes murder.
The chapters, all of which are new to this edition, focus on key features of the political systems that have emerged following the transition to postcommunist rule and the enlargement of the European Union through 2006. Full attention is given to the pattern of events in individual nations, but the main emphasis is on the framework of politics across the region—constitutions, leadership, parliaments, parties, and electoral systems—and the process of politics, as it is revealed in political participation, civil society, economic change, and the quality of democratic government within and beyond the region.
Clearly written and well supported with references and suggestions for further reading, Developments in Central and East European Politics 4 is the ideal guide to the process of change in a group of states that were formerly modeled on the Soviet Union but are now a distinctive and varied presence within a continent that has been redefining its boundaries, its values, its economic systems, and its international allegiances.
Contributors. Judy Batt, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Sarah Birch, Heather Grabbe, Tim Haughton, Krzysztof Jasiewicz, Petr Kopecký, Paul G. Lewis, Frances Millard, Cas Mudde, D. Mario Nuti, Mark Pittaway, Ray Taras, Stephen White, Andrew Wilson, Kataryna Wolczuk
Central and East Europe is a large, extremely diverse region, encompassing full-fledged EU members—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Slovakia, followed later by Bulgaria and Romania—as well as nations of the Western Balkans that are progressing at various speeds along the EU path—Croatia, about to join; Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, with EU candidate status; and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, struggling to keep up. The region also includes the East European states of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. In this collection, leading authorities examine how these heterogeneous nations have fared since the collapse of communism. The contributors look at executive leadership, elections and voter behavior, parliamentary systems, political parties, citizen engagement in civil society, the effects of neoliberalism, and the quality of life in postcommunist democracies. Most of the essays are new to this edition; the rest have been thoroughly updated.Contributors. Judy Batt, Sarah Birch, Nathaniel Copsey, Terry Cox, Rick Fawn, Tim Haughton, Krzysztof Jasiewicz, Paul G. Lewis, Frances Millard, David M. Olson, Mitchell A. Orenstein, Andrew Roberts, Ray Taras, Stephen White, Andrew Wilson
Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon illuminates how issues of ideal womanhood shaped the Anglophone Cameroonian nationalist movement in the first decade of independence in Cameroon, a west-central African country. Drawing upon history, political science, gender studies, and feminist epistemologies, the book examines how formally educated women sought to protect the cultural values and the self-determination of the Anglophone Cameroonian state as Francophone Cameroon prepared to dismantle the federal republic. The book defines and uses the concept of embodied nationalism to illustrate the political importance of women’s everyday behavior—the clothes they wore, the foods they cooked, whether they gossiped, and their deference to their husbands. The result, in this fascinating approach, reveals that West Cameroon, which included English-speaking areas, was a progressive and autonomous nation. The author’s sources include oral interviews and archival records such as women’s newspaper advice columns, Cameroon’s first cooking book, and the first novel published by an Anglophone Cameroonian woman.
Invisible Agents shows how personal and deeply felt spiritual beliefs can inspire social movements and influence historical change. Conventional historiography concentrates on the secular, materialist, or moral sources of political agency. Instead, David M. Gordon argues, when people perceive spirits as exerting power in the visible world, these beliefs form the basis for individual and collective actions. Focusing on the history of the south-central African country of Zambia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his analysis invites reflection on political and religious realms of action in other parts of the world, and complicates the post-Enlightenment divide of sacred and profane.
The book combines theoretical insights with attention to local detail and remarkable historical sweep, from oral narratives communicated across slave-trading routes during the nineteenth century, through the violent conflicts inspired by Christian and nationalist prophets during colonial times, and ending with the spirits of Pentecostal rebirth during the neoliberal order of the late twentieth century. To gain access to the details of historical change and personal spiritual beliefs across this long historical period, Gordon employs all the tools of the African historian. His own interviews and extensive fieldwork experience in Zambia provide texture and understanding to the narrative. He also critically interprets a diverse range of other sources, including oral traditions, fieldnotes of anthropologists, missionary writings and correspondence, unpublished state records, vernacular publications, and Zambian newspapers.
Invisible Agents will challenge scholars and students alike to think in new ways about the political imagination and the invisible sources of human action and historical change.
The horrific tragedies of Central Africa in the 1990s riveted the attention of the world. But these crises did not occur in a historical vacuum. By peering through the mists of the past, the case studies presented in The Land Beyond the Mists illustrate the significant advances to have taken place since decolonization in our understanding of the pre-colonial histories of Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Congo.
Based on both oral and written sources, these essays are important both for their methods—viewing history from the perspective of local actors—and for their conclusions, which seriously challenge colonial myths about the area.
This latest edition of A Modern History of the Somali brings I. M. Lewis’s definitive history up to date and shows the amazing continuity of Somali forms of social organization. Lewis’s history portrays the ingeniousness with which the Somali way of life has been adapted to all forms of modernity.
Nachituti’s Gift challenges conventional theories of economic development with a compelling comparative case study of inland fisheries in Zambia and Congo from pre- to postcolonial times. Neoclassical development models conjure a simple, abstract progression from wealth held in people to money or commodities; instead, Gordon argues, primary social networks and oral charters like “Nachituti’s Gift” remained decisive long after the rise of intensive trade and market activities. Interweaving oral traditions, songs, and interviews as well as extensive archival research, Gordon’s lively tale is at once a subtle analysis of economic and social transformations, an insightful exercise in environmental history, and a revealing study of comparative politics.
Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence is the first extensive history of Cameroonian nationalism to consider the global and local influences that shaped the movement within the French and British Cameroons and beyond. Drawing on the archives of the United Nations, France, Great Britain, Ghana, and Cameroon, as well as oral sources, Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence chronicles the spread of the Union des populations du Cameroun (UPC) nationalist movement from the late 1940s into the first postcolonial decade. It shows how, in the French and British Cameroon territories administered as UN Trusteeships after the Second World War, notions of international human rights, the promise of Third World independence, Pan-African federation, and national citizenship blended with local political and spiritual practices that resurfaced as the period of European rule came to a close. After French and British administrators banned the party in the mid-1950s, UPC nationalists adopted violence as a revolutionary strategy. In the 1960s, the nationalist vision disintegrated. The postcolonial regime labeled UPC nationalists “outlaws” and rounded them up for imprisonment or execution as the state shifted to single-party rule in 1966.
Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence traces the connection between local and transregional politics in the age of Africa’s decolonization and the early decades of the Cold War. Rather than stop at official independence as most conventional histories of African nationalist movements do, this book considers postindependence events as crucial to the history of Cameroonian nationalism and to an understanding of the postcolonial government that came to power on 1 January 1960. While the history of the UPC is a story that ends with the party’s failure to gain access to political power with independence, it is also a story of the postcolonial state’s failure to become a nation.
In Our New Husbands Are Here, Emily Lynn Osborn investigates a central puzzle of power and politics in West African history: Why do women figure frequently in the political narratives of the precolonial period, and then vanish altogether with colonization? Osborn addresses this question by exploring the relationship of the household to the state. By analyzing the history of statecraft in the interior savannas of West Africa (in present-day Guinea-Conakry), Osborn shows that the household, and women within it, played a critical role in the pacifist Islamic state of Kankan-Baté, enabling it to endure the predations of the transatlantic slave trade and become a major trading center in the nineteenth century. But French colonization introduced a radical new method of statecraft to the region, one that separated the household from the state and depoliticized women’s domestic roles. This book will be of interest to scholars of politics, gender, the household, slavery, and Islam in African history.
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
Blessed with fertile and well-watered soil, East Africa’s kingdom of Buganda supported a relatively dense population and became a major regional power by the mid-nineteenth century. This complex and fascinating state has also long been in need of a thorough study that cuts through the image of autocracy and military might.
Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda explores the material basis of Ganda political power, gives us a new understanding of what Ganda power meant in real terms, and relates the story of how the kingdom used the resources at its disposal to meet the challenges that confronted it. Reid further explains how these same challenges ultimately limited Buganda’s dominance of the East African great lakes region.
Contributors. Michael Beckerman, Donna Buchanan, Anna Czekanowska, Judit Frigyesi, Barbara Rose Lange, Mirjana Lausevic, Theodore Levin, Margarita Mazo, Steluta Popa, Ljerka Vidic Rasmussen, Timothy Rice, Carol Silverman, Catherine Wanner
This first comprehensive and thoroughly documented study of the political development of two of the newly formed nations of Central Africa presents the full story of the successful efforts of the people of Malawi and Zambia to achieve self-government. Following a detailed examination of the impact of British colonial rule, the author provides a new interpretation of the earliest demonstrations of native discontent and he explains how the forces of protest found expression through proto-political parties and the formation of religious sects and millennial movements. He also interprets the objectives and tactics of the ruling white settlers in their abortive effort to establish the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.Basing his analysis on archival and other primary sources, including interviews with leading figures, Robert Rotberg traces the origins of the full-fledged political parties in both countries and describes the early congresses which were to become the dominant movements during the struggle for independence in Central Africa. He ends with an analysis of that struggle, bringing the story to its successful conclusion in late 1964. A postscript discusses the important changes of 1965.
Drawing partly on his experiences as a member of a local dance band in the country’s capital city Kinshasa, White offers extraordinarily vivid accounts of the live music scene, including the relatively recent phenomenon of libanga, which involves shouting the names of wealthy or powerful people during performances in exchange for financial support or protection. With dynamic descriptions of how bands practiced, performed, and splintered, White highlights how the ways that power was sought and understood in Kinshasa’s popular music scene mirrored the charismatic authoritarianism of Mobutu’s rule. In Rumba Rules, Congolese speak candidly about political leadership, social mobility, and what it meant to be a bon chef (good leader) in Mobutu’s Zaire.
Thus Ruled Emir Abbas is an important new research tool that reveals much about daily life in Kano, the wealthiest and most populous emirate of the African Sokoto Caliphate. It contains a selection of Kano Judicial Council documents, as well as their English translations, that deal with matters such as land disputes, tax collection disputes, and theft. These documents are invaluable resources that reveal much about Kano social, economic, and political life before the region came under the influence of colonial institutions, law, and language. This selection of records for more than 415 cases, along with their translations, will become essential reading for those interested in Nigeria’s past and will certainly become a standard work in the field of Nigerian history and anthropology.
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