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History, Africa *: New Books

This guide is intended to help any faculty, graduate, or undergraduate student find resources in the area of African history.

New Books (Selected Titles)

The African Experience: An Introduction
" the only interdisciplinary survey to examine this region of the world from geographic, linguistic, social, historical, and political perspectives. Drawing on research from all of the social sciences, this text captures Africa in its complex totality. The African Experience helps students develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of Africa, one that allows them to grasp the region's internal dynamics and its evolving place in the world.

Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
"...reveals the ways in which domestic space and domestic relationships take on different meanings in African contexts that extend the boundaries of family obligation, kinship, and dependency. The term domestic violence encompasses kin-based violence, marriage-based violence, gender-based violence, as well as violence between patrons and clients who shared the same domestic space. As a lived experience and as a social and historical unit of analysis, domestic violence in colonial and postcolonial Africa is complex. Using evidence drawn from SubSaharan Africa, the chapters explore the range of domestic violence in Africa's colonial past and its present, including taxation and the insertion of the household into the broader structure of colonial domination. African histories of domestic violence demand that scholars and activists refine the terms and analyses and pay attention to the historical legacies of contemporary problems. This collection brings into conversation historical, anthropological, legal, and activist perspectives on domestic violence in Africa and fosters a deeper understanding of the problem of domestic violence, the limits of international human rights conventions, and local and regional efforts to address the issue."

Historical Memory in Africa: Dealing with the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context
"The ambiguous nature of historical memory during times of social upheaval and transformation is explored by scholars of the humanities and social sciences. The study pivots on a number of cases in African countries, but the contributors are from the West and Asia as well as Africa, and a major concern is investigating how the cases in Africa differ, and how they parallel, from those elsewhere. The African perspectives include linking past and present through oral memory, historical memory and the representation of new nations, the centenary commemoration of the South African war of 1899-1902, and the politics of memory in the new South Africa..." - Book News Inc.

The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670: A Documentary History
"...brings together a collection of documents - all in new English translation - that illustrate aspects of the encounters between the Portuguese and the peoples of North and West Africa in the period from 1400 to 1650. This period witnessed the diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, the emigration of Portuguese to West Africa and the islands, and the beginnings of the black diaspora associated with the slave trade. The documents show how the Portuguese tried to understand the societies with which they came into contact and to reconcile their experience with the myths and legends inherited from classical and medieval learning. They also show how Africans reacted to the coming of Europeans, adapting Christian ideas to local beliefs and making use of exotic imports and European technologies. The documents also describe the evolution of the black Portuguese communities in Guinea and the islands, as well as the slave trade and the way that it was organized, understood, and justified."

Representing Africa: Landscape, Exploration and Empire in Southern Africa, 1780-1870
"...examines the ways in which British travellers, explorers and artists viewed southern Africa in a period of evolving and expanding British interest in the region. It brings together diverse themes, such as the aesthetics of landscape, scientific expeditions, missionary activity and the impact of hunting, in order to illuminate more fully the relationship between European travellers and African landscapes. Southern Africa played a varied but vital role in Britain’s maritime and imperial stories. It acted as a staging post for those on their way to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, accommodated expanding commercial and scientific interests, enabled the projection of maritime power across two oceans and, not least, became home for a rich variety of people and cultures. Representations of southern African landscape and maritime spaces reflect this multifaceted position, as do the people who recorded and disseminated them. Sailors, scientists, missionaries and migrants – together with explorers and artists –interpreted the region according to their own preoccupations and priorities. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources, contemporary travelogues and visual images, this book posits landscape as a useful prism through which to view changing British attitudes towards Africa. It asks how and why these representations of landscape came about as well as the roles they played in the British imaginings and understandings of the region. Richly illustrated, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students interested in British, African, imperial and exploration history, art history, and landscape and environment studies."