“This book offers some exciting examples of the insights to be gained from studies of the intellectual responses of Africans to the West. In six case studies, anthropologists, historians, and a literary critic study the impact of the West on African patterns of thought.”—Library Journal
Curtin combines modern research and statistical methods with his broad knowledge of the field to present the first book-length quantitative analysis of the Atlantic slave trade. Its basic evidence suggests revision of currently held opinions concerning the place of the slave trade in the economies of the Old World nations and their American colonies.
“Curtin’s work will not only be the starting point for all future research on the slave trade and comparative slavery, but will become an indispensable reference for anyone interested in Afro-American studies.”—Journal of American History
“Curtin has produced a stimulating monograph, the product of immaculate scholarship, against which all past and future studies will have to be judged.”—Journal of American Studies
“Professor Curtin’s new book is up to his customary standard of performance: within the limits he set for himself, The Atlantic Slave Trade could hardly be a better or more important book.”—American Historical Review
In this encyclopedic work of intellectual history, Philip D. Curtain sought to discover the British image of Africa for the years 1780–1850.
In the 1950s, professional historians claiming to specialize in tropical Africa were no more than a handful. The teaching of world history was confined to high school courses, and even those were focused on European history, with a chapter added to account for the history of East and South Asia. The change over the ensuing decades was revolutionary.
Philip D. Curtin was a leader among a new generation of historians that emerged after the Second World War. Written with characteristic economy and telling detail, On the Fringes of History: A Memoir follows Curtin from his beginnings in central West Virginia in the 1920s, through a distinguished academic career in which Curtin founded African studies at the University of Wisconsin. He began the programs in comparative world history at Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins, producing many of the most influential historians and Africanists from the 1950s to today.
Always an independent thinker and controversial figure, Curtin revived the study of the Atlantic slave trade. His career stands as an example of the kind of dissatisfaction and struggles that brought about a sea change in higher education. On the Fringes of History traces the movement of African history and world history from the fringes of the history profession into the mainstream. This stunningly illustrated memoir illuminates both the career of a leading historian and the history of twentieth-century academia.
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