African Studies, contrary to some accounts, is not a separate continent in the world of American higher education. Its intellectual borders touch those of economics, literature, history, philosophy, and art; its history is the story of the world, both ancient and modern. This is the clear conclusion of Africa and the Disciplines, a book that addresses the question: Why should Africa be studied in the American university?
This question was put to distinguished scholars in the social sciences and humanities, prominent Africanists who are also leaders in their various disciplines. Their responses make a strong and enlightening case for the importance of research on Africa to the academy.
Paul Collier's essay, for example, shows how studies of African economies have clarified our understanding of the small open economies, and contributed to the theory of repressed inflation and to a number of areas in microeconomics as well. Art historian Suzanne Blier uses the terms and concepts that her discipline has applied to Africa to analyze the habits of mind and social practice of her own field. Christopher L. Miller describes the confounding and enriching impact of Africa on European and American literary theory. Political scientist Richard Sklar outlines Africa's contributions to the study of political modernization, pluralism, and rational choice. These essays, together with others from scholars in history, anthropology, philosophy, and comparative literature, attest to the influence of African research throughout the curriculum.
For many, knowledge from Africa seems distant and exotic. These powerful essays suggest the contrary: that such knowledge has shaped the way in which scholars in various disciplines understand their worlds. Eloquent testimony to Africa's necessary place in the mainstream of American education, this book should alter the academy's understanding of the significance of African research, its definition of core and periphery in human knowledge.
"These essays are at once exceptionally thoughtful and remarkably comprehensive. Not only do they offer an unusually interesting overview of African studies; they are also striking for the depth and freshness of their insights. This is the sort of volume from which both seasoned regional experts and students stand to learn an enormous amount."—John Comaroff, University of Chicago
"These essays provide an important perspective on the evolution of African studies and offer insights into what Africa can mean for the different humanistic and social science disciplines. Many show in ingenious and subtle ways the enormous potential that the study of Africa has for confounding the main tenets of established fields. One could only hope that the strictures expressed here would be taken to heart in the scholarly world."—Robert L. Tignor, Princeton University
Complicities explores the complicated—even contradictory—position of the intellectual who takes a stand against political policies and ideologies. Mark Sanders argues that intellectuals cannot avoid some degree of complicity in what they oppose and that responsibility can only be achieved with their acknowledgment of this complicity. He examines the role of South African intellectuals by looking at the work of a number of key figures—both supporters and opponents of apartheid.
Sanders gives detailed analyses of widely divergent thinkers: Afrikaner nationalist poet N. P. van Wyk Louw, Drum writer Bloke Modisane, Xhosa novelist A. C. Jordan, Afrikaner dissident Breyten Breytenbach, and Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. Drawing on theorists including Derrida, Sartre, and Fanon, and paying particular attention to the linguistic intricacy of the literary and political texts considered, Sanders shows how complicity emerges as a predicament for intellectuals across the ideological and social spectrum. Through discussions of the colonial intellectuals Olive Schreiner and Sol T. Plaatje and of post-apartheid feminist critiques of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Complicities reveals how sexual difference joins with race to further complicate issues of collusion.
Complicities sheds new light on the history and literature of twentieth-century South Africa as it weighs into debates about the role of the intellectual in public life.
An interdisciplinary, international collection of essays, case studies, position papers, and roundtable discussions, Diaspora and Immigration is unified (like the 1996 Stanford University seminar that inspired it) by the paradox which—and on which—it reflects: We are all minorities constituting multiple diasporas in our own countries and elsewhere. Experts from a variety of fields—anthropology, sociology, history, literature, and African, Hispanic, and Jewish studies—examine specific diasporas, immigrant communities, and “border identities” ranging from Muslims in Europe to Chicanos in Texas, from Chinese immigrants in California to the "peach blossom diaspora" in Taiwan. They discuss the Jewish Diaspora and the creation of the State of Israel, as well as two centuries of Irish diasporic experiences in Australia and America. Following testimonies by German, Filipino, Italian American, and South African Israeli academics, who scrutinize their respective "personal diasporas," this special issue concludes with some afterthoughts on diaspora and the potential for global unity in the face of today's global diversity.
Contributors. Jean Bazin, Louis Shabat Bethlehem, Gordon H. Chang, Ngwarsungu Chiwengo, Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, Christopher Davis, Marcel Detienne, Sabine Engel, Daphna Golan, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Daniel Itzkovitz, Riva Kastoryano, Vassilis Lambropoulos, V. Y. Mudimbe, Peter Murphy, Richard Roberts, Aron Rodrigue, Ramón Saldívar, Kenneth J. Surin, Neferti Xina M. Tadiar, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, Danielle Trudeau, Candice Ward, Steven Zipperstein
Moving world-systems analysis into the cultural realm, Richard E. Lee locates the cultural studies movement within a broad historical and geopolitical framework. He illuminates how order and conflict have been reflected and negotiated in the sphere of knowledge production by situating the emergence of cultural studies at the intersection of post–1945 international and British politics and a two-hundred-year history of conservative critical practice. Tracing British criticism from the period of the French Revolution through the 1960s, he describes how cultural studies in its infancy recombined the elite literary critical tradition with the First New Left’s concerns for history and popular culture—just as the liberal consensus began to come apart.
Lee tracks the intellectual project of cultural studies as it developed over three decades, beginning with its institutional foundation at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). He links work at the CCCS to the events of 1968 and explores cultural studies’ engagement with theory in the debates on structuralism. He considers the shift within the discipline away from issues of working-class culture toward questions of identity politics in the fields of race and gender. He follows the expansion of the cultural studies project from Britain to Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. Contextualizing the development and spread of cultural studies within the longue durée structures of knowledge in the modern world-system, Lee assesses its past and future as an agent of political and social change.
This volume investigates the concepts of nation, identity, and culture as they have evolved within the contexts of exile and as a result of the consolidation of the ethnic and the political. The contributors explore various theoretical issues involved in reconfiguring these concepts since the nineteenth century, as well as the manifestations of these issues in specific regions of the world. Examining the degree to which twentieth-century representations of colonization, revolution, and modernity are nineteenth-century constructs, Nations, Identities, Cultures locates contemporary political thought in an ethos of exile, nostalgic for bygone places and cultures of the nineteenth century. The contributors interrogate the significance of changes in the way the political is conceptualized and the impact of shifting representations of political society on our understanding of nation, identity, and culture. Approaches to these issues range from broad perspectives on global culture, civil society, liberalism, and dialectical identity to specific case studies on the politics of Quebec, the Russian muzhik, Israel’s borders, the ancient Greek origins of European culture, Kongo nationalism, the women of Lebanon, and the Danish/Swedish border.
Contributors. Martin Bernal, Dominique Colas, Miriam Cooke, Daphna Golan, Thomas Lahusen, Jocelyn Létourneau, Anders Linde-Laursen, Wyatt MacGaffey, John McCumber, V. Y. Mudimbe, Kenneth Surin, Immanuel Wallerstein
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.