Research Africa News: December 28, 2021

Research Africa News: December 28, 2021

Black Love inspired me. Making these portraits renewed my spirit
Et Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, December 2, 2021

When the pandemic arrived stateside in early 2020 and our lives were unceremoniously ordered online; online became a lifeline in unimaginable ways. The robust activity in the digital space included dancing until daybreak in Club Quarantine, the ingenuity of the Don’t Rush challenge in all its everlasting iterations, learning how to be a billionaire on Clubhouse and our favorite singer-songwriter-rapper-producers battled it out in Versuz.
Read the research article here.

We must stop Ethiopia tearing itself apart
By NewAfrican, December 06, 20211

Africa cannot sit on its hands and let this great and ancient nation tear itself to pieces while we fiddle with protocols, says Anver Versi. Where are the continent’s Wise People when we need them to defuse the situation?

Two years ago at this time we were celebrating the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia; today, he is fully embroiled in what is developing into one of the nastiest and most brutal conflicts in Africa.
Read the research article here.

An Archivist’s Plea B. M. Watson | Jan 22, 2021

Various disciplinary “archival turns” over the course of the past few decades have resulted in a tendency towards the over-casual use of the word “archive” as a shorthand to refer to, well, just about anything. While historians are not the most egregious of offenders, this exasperating tendency has led to an increasing sense of frustration and alienation on the part of librarians, archivists, curators, and other cultural heritage workers, who are loath to see their professional terminology co-opted in imprecise ways.
Read the rest of the article here.

The 50 Best Books of Literary Journalism of the 21st Century From garbage recycling in a Mumbai settlement to shocking murders in France, these are incredible feats of reporting and storytelling.
By Daniel Riley, December 9, 2021

Books on books on books For the past couple decades, we’ve felt that the best books being published—the most riveting, the most richly rendered, the most likely to last—are the works of literary journalism. You know the books we mean: books built on robust reporting and impossible-to-invent characters; books featuring sweeping plots and cinematic scenes (but true); books drawn with the novelist’s eye for detail and incident (but real); books that tell stories that, despite the quickening pace of nearly everything in our lives, manage to fix us in place and to light up our brains. For the best books of this kind, writers slow down, look close and wide, and organize the diffuse and the chaotic into definitive narratives that help us better understand our present times, and those of the recent past. These stories arrange our world, inspire art (film, TV), and endure. Which is why this is the form that so many of our most gifted journalists turn to, to do their finest work.
Read the rest of the article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Kwame Nkrumah and the Pan-African Ideal Debates and Contestations
[كوامي نكروما وجدليات البانأفريكانزم ]
Author: Sehlare Makgetlaneng

Kwame Nkrumah and the Pan-African Ideal draws on experiences in various decades on the ebbs and flows of African continental integration as a common African continental agenda. It attempts to contribute towards the grasp of critical theoretical position on international political economy and its application on the African socio-political, economic and ideological condition. This work critically engages with the works of Nkrumah, a leading African scholar on the African continental political unity in the political, economic and ideological fields of the struggle to achieve the continental socio-political, economic and ideological transformation in the strategic interests of Africa in its continental and international relations. As a means of demonstrating invaluable knowledge produced by Nkrumah for a critical engagement in the efforts to achieve African continental integration and transformation, this work provides a critical analysis of his position on the African continental integration and how the decisive majority of heads of state and government from the Organisation of African Unity to the African Union (AU) have waged the struggle against it.
Publisher:Institute for Preservation and Development, South Africa, 2021.

Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa
[مفارقة أيبيريا: الشريعة الإسلامية والفتح المسيحي في شمال غرب إفريقيا]
Author: Jocelyn Hendrickson

In her landmark new book Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa (Harvard UP, 2021), Jocelyn Hendrickson launches a searingly brilliant legal history centered on the question of how medieval and early modern Muslim jurists in Iberia and North Africa wrestled with various thorny questions of living under or migrating away from non-Muslim political sovereignty. This book combines meticulous social and political history with nimble and accessible readings of a vast range of sources from the Maliki School of law. What emerges from this exercise is a picture of the Maliki legal tradition in particular and Islamic law more broadly that is unavailable for predictable readings, enormously interesting, and deliciously complex. This lucid book should also be a delight to teach in various graduate and upper level under graduate courses..
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2021.

Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa
[دليل دار نشر روتليدج حول الإسلام في إفريقيا]
Author: (Ed.) Terje Østebø

Bringing together cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines, this handbook argues that despite often being overlooked or treated as marginal, the study of Islam from an African context is integral to the broader Muslim world. Challenging the portrayal of African Muslims as passive recipients of religious impetuses arriving from the outside, this book shows how the continent has been a site for the development of rich Islamic scholarship and religious discourses. Over the course of the book, the contributors reflect on: The history and infrastructure of Islam in Africa; Politics and Islamic reform; Gender, youth, and everyday life for African Muslims; New technologies, media, and popular culture.
Publisher: Routledge, 2022

Self-devouring Growth: a Planetary Parable as Told from Southern Africa
[النمو الاقتصادي المضر بالنفس: نموذج من جنوب أفريقيا]
Author: Julie Livingston

Under capitalism, economic growth is seen as the key to collective well-being. In Self-Devouring Growth Julie Livingston upends this notion, showing that while consumption-driven growth may seem to benefit a particular locale, it produces a number of unacknowledged, negative consequences that ripple throughout the wider world. Structuring the book as a parable in which the example of Botswana has lessons for the rest of the globe, Livingston shows how fundamental needs for water, food, and transportation become harnessed to what she calls self-devouring growth: an unchecked and unsustainable global pursuit of economic growth that threatens catastrophic environmental destruction. As Livingston notes, improved technology alone cannot stave off such destruction; what is required is a greater accounting of the web of relationships between humans, nonhuman beings, plants, and minerals that growth entails. Livingston contends that by failing to understand these relationships and the consequences of self-devouring growth, we may be unknowingly consuming our future..
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021

Otherness and Pathology: The Fragmented Self and Madness in Contemporary African Fiction
[تمييز الآخر وعلم الأمراض: الذات المجزأة والجنون في الخيال الأفريقي المعاصر]
Author: Murimi Gaita, Wanjohi wa Makokha, Andrew Nyongesa

Scholars have problematized otherness and madness in diverse ways. There are those who hold that otherness is madness in itself of which leading voices are Michel Foucault and Gregory Reid. Other scholars contradict these voices and single out madness as a clinical condition that arises from strands of othering such as political, gender, class, age and racial. Frantz Fanon is the leading voice of this school of thought that demonstrates how othering destroys the psyche of the marginalised groups. This book extends Fanon’s thesis with regard to madness in selected works of African fiction. Whereas Fanon stops at conceptualisation of the nexus between othering and madness, in this book, the authors incorporate the fragmented self, which is equally disabling.
Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2021.

Apartheid’s Black Soldiers: Unnational Wars and Militaries in Southern Africa
[ جنود نظام أبارتايد من السود: الحروب والجيوش غير الرسمية في جنوب إفريقيا]
Author: Lennart Bolliger

New oral histories from Black Namibian and Angolan troops who fought in apartheid South Africa’s security forces reveal their involvement, and its impact on their lives, to be far more complicated than most historical scholarship has acknowledged. In anticolonial struggles across the African continent, tens of thousands of African soldiers served in the militaries of colonial and settler states. In southern Africa, they often made up the bulk of these militaries and, in some contexts, far outnumbered those who fought in the liberation movements’ armed wings. Despite these soldiers’ significant impact on the region’s military and political history, this dimension of southern Africa’s anticolonial struggles has been almost entirely ignored in previous scholarship. Focusing on three case studies of predominantly Black units commanded by White officers, Bolliger investigates how and why these soldiers participated in South Africa’s security forces and considers the legacies of that involvement. In tackling these questions, he rejects the common tendency to categorize the soldiers as “collaborators” and “traitors” and reveals the un-national facets of anticolonial struggles.
Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2021.

Wisdom of The Tumbuka People
[ حكم ومزايا شعب تومبوكا]
Author: William Mumba

Proverbs in Africa are capsules of the wisdom of the people. Luviri Press is happy to present another collection of such proverbs this time focussing on the Tumbuka people who live in Northern Malawi and Eastern Zambia. The people of Central Africa are a mixed people with mixed cultures due to a mixed history. Citumbuka, the language as it is known today, is a result of a complex process of interactions of the different languages of ethnic groups knitted together by historical events. A study of the Tumbuka proverbs and expressions reveal this cultural interaction. Publisher:Luviri Press, Malawi, 2022.

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (

Research Africa News: August 25th, 2021

Research Africa News: August 25th, 2021

Writing Ourselves into Existence with the Collective for Black Iranians
Forthcoming in MER issue 299 “Race—Legacies and Challenges” Beeta Baghoolizadeh, Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda 06, 29, 2021

Six Black and Afro-Iranians based in Canada, Germany, France and the United States launched the Collective for Black Iranians in August 2020 out of the necessity to be seen, to be heard and to be understood. As of May 2021, the Collective for Black Iranians has developed a lively audience of over 20,000 followers from all over the world.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tigray conflict calls for African solutions for African challenges Sunday,
By Macharia Kamau & Martin Kimani ,August 01, 2021

The maxim ‘African solutions for African challenges’ is a profound assertion of independence and responsibility. Its application to preventing and resolving violent conflicts in Africa is key to our independence and prosperity.

Read the rest of the article here.

Rethinking Whiteness in Turkey Through the AKP’s Foreign Policy in Africa South of the Sahara
By Ezgi Güner In: 299 (Summer 2021)

There is a new investment in whiteness in contemporary Turkey, and it is not by those who have traditionally been identified as “White Turks,” but by their long-standing critics, the so-called Black Turks. In the 1990s, whiteness and Blackness entered the Turkish political lexicon as racialized metaphors of privilege and subordination.

Read the article here.

One Island, But Different Worlds: The History Of Haiti And The Dominican Republic Dominican Republic.
By Haiti Parker Diakite Parker Diakite,Jun 28, 2021

Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR) may occupy the same island of Hispaniola on the Caribbean Sea with nearly the same populations hovering around 10 million people, but the similarities between the two stop there. “Culturally, we’re different,” said Frantz G, who was born and raised in Haiti for 15 years until moving to the United States and settling in the Midwest with his family. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that we were colonized by the French and the Dominican Republic was colonized by the Spanish. We speak more of a French creole in Haiti and people from the Dominican Republic speak Spanish.”.

Read the research article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Democracy and the Discourse on Relevance Within the Academic Profession at Makerere University.
[الديمقراطية وخطابات التنوع داخل المهنة الأكاديمية في جامعة ماكيريري]
Author: Andrea Kronstad Felde, Tor Halvorsen, Anja Myrtveit

Drawing on interviews with over ninety academics at Makerere University, from deans to doctoral students, the authors provide first-hand accounts of the pressures and problems the reforms have created. Disempowered, overworked and under-resourced, many academics are forced to take on consultancy work to make ends meet. The evidence presented here stands in stark in contrast to the successes claimed by the university. However, as the authors also show, local resistance to the neoliberal model is rising, as academics begin to collaborate to regain control over what knowledge is considered relevant, and wrestle with deepening democracy.
Publisher: African Minds Publishers, South Africa, 2021.

Embodied Engineering Gendered Labor, Food Security, and Taste in Twentieth-Century Mali
[ نقاشات حول الهندسة المجسدة، والعمل المشترك بين الرجال والنساء، والأمن الغذائي والمذاق
والطعم في مالي القرن العشرين]
Author: Laura Ann Twagira

By advocating for an understanding of rural Malian women as engineers, Laura Ann Twagira rejects the persistent image of African women as subjects without technological knowledge or access and instead reveals a hidden history about gender, development, and improvisation. In so doing, she also significantly expands the scope of African science and technology studies. Using the Office du Niger agricultural project as a case study, Twagira argues that women used modest technologies (such as a mortar and pestle or metal pots) and organized female labor to create, maintain, and reengineer a complex and highly adaptive food production system. While women often incorporated labor-saving technologies into their work routines, they did not view their own physical labor as the problem it is so often framed to be in development narratives. Rather, women’s embodied techniques and knowledge were central to their ability to transform a development project centered on export production into an environmental resource that addressed local taste and consumption needs.
Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2021.

Towards Sustainable Peace in Ghana: Essays in Memory of Francis Kojo Azuimah
[نحو سلام مستدام في غانا: مقالات في ذكرى فرانسيس كوجو أزويما]
Author (Editor): Stephen Bugu Kendie

This book was conceived as a testament to the life and times of Mr. Francis Kojo Azuimah – the first Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council (NPC) of Ghana. The late Executive Secretary worked tirelessly not only to pre-empt and manage conflicts, but also drew attention of policy makers to the underlying causes of conflict. Consequently, in all the peace-building efforts that the NPC engaged in during his tenure, the fundamental issues of poverty, inequality and justice were driving concerns.
Publisher: Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana, 2021.

Militarizing Marriage: West African Soldiers’ Conjugal Traditions in Modern French Empire
[عسكرة الزواج: التقاليد الزوجية لجنود غرب إفريقيا في الإمبراطورية الفرنسية الحديثة]
Author: Sarah J. Zimmerman

Sarah J. Zimmerman examines the evolution of women’s conjugal relationships with West African colonial soldiers to show how the sexuality, gender, and exploitation of women were fundamental to the violent colonial expansion and the everyday operation of colonial rule in modern French Empire. These conjugal behaviors became military marital traditions that normalized the intimate manifestation of colonial power in social reproduction across the empire. Soldiers’ cross-colonial and interracial households formed at the intersection of race and sexuality outside the colonizer/colonized binary. Militarizing Marriage uses contemporary feminist scholarship on militarism and violence to portray how the subjugation of women was indispensable to military conquest and colonial rule.
Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2020.

Birthing Black Mothers
[تجربة الولادة عند الأمهات من أصول أفريقية]
Author: Jennifer C. Nash

In Birthing Black Mothers Black feminist theorist Jennifer C. Nash examines how the figure of the “Black mother” has become a powerful political category. “Mothering while Black” has become synonymous with crisis as well as a site of cultural interest, empathy, fascination, and support. Cast as suffering and traumatized by their proximity to Black death—especially through medical racism and state-sanctioned police violence—Black mothers are often rendered as one-dimensional symbols of tragic heroism. In contrast, Nash examines Black mothers’ self-representations and public performances of motherhood—including Black doulas and breastfeeding advocates alongside celebrities such as Beyoncé, Serena Williams, and Michelle Obama—that are not rooted in loss. Through cultural critique and in-depth interviews, Nash acknowledges the complexities of Black motherhood outside its use as political currency. Throughout, Nash imagines a Black feminist project that refuses the lure of locating the precarity of Black life in women and instead invites readers to theorize, organize, and dream into being new modes of Black motherhood..
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021.

The Portrait and the Colonial Imaginary: Photography between France and Africa 1900-1939
[ اللوحة الفوتوغرافية والخيال الاستعماري: تاريخ التصوير الفوتوغرافي بين فرنسا وأفريقيا 1900-1939]
Author: Simon Dell

French colonisers of the Third Republic claimed not to oppress but to liberate, imagining they were spreading republican ideals to the colonies to make a Greater France. In this book Simon Dell explores the various roles played by portraiture in this colonial imaginary. Anyone interested in the history of colonial Africa will have encountered innumerable portraits of African elites produced during the first half of the twentieth century, yet no book to date has focused on these ubiquitous images. Dell analyses the production and dissemination of such portraits and situates them in a complex and conflicted field of representations. Moving between European and African perspectives, The Colonial Imaginary blends history with art history to provide insights into the larger processes that were transforming the French metropole and colonies during the early twentieth century..
Publisher: Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020.

This Body is an Empty Vessel
[هذا الجسم الهاوي مثل سفينة فارغة]
Author: Beaton Galafa

Here is poetry that is personal yet spreading to have its tentacles struggling to grip into other equally slippery facets of life. In brief, Beaton writes his poetry to assuage his personal feelings yet in so doing he ends up massaging our shared experience – as Malawians, Africans and just as humans. Beaton has observed, learnt, and is growing in the Malawian poetry space. Thus, he also comes to the stage bearing the Malawian influence on his poetry.
Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2021.

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (

Research Africa News: November 28, 2021

Research Africa News: November 28, 2021

Afro-Bolivians: Inside One Of The Last Tribal Kingdoms In The Americas Bolivia Parker Diakite Parker Diakite, Apr 16, 2021

Landlocked between Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, Bolivia is often ignored by its South American neighbors, but it’s truly a gem. There are majestic mountains, stunning rainforests, and rich culture. Located outside the Capital City of La Paz is an area known as the Yungas Region. It’s not an easy area to access because of the jungles and rivers, but it’s home to the Afro-Bolivian community: one of the last remaining tribal kingdoms in the world. The Afro-Bolivians are descendants of African slaves during the Spanish Empire. The more than 2,000 people in the kingdom are mainly farmers who grow cocoa, coffee, and more. In Mururata, a village of around 350 people, is the center of the kingdom where Julio Bonifaz Piñedo is the king.
Read the research article here.

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel: The Right Award for the Wrong Reason
By Meg Arenberg Meg Arenberg, is a writer, November 10, 2021
In their announcement of Zanzibar-born Abdulrazak Gurnah as the 2021 winner in literature, the Nobel Prize committee once again surprised the world. Only the sixth author from Africa to have received the prize in its 120-year history, Gurnah was lauded “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” Readers less familiar with Gurnah could be forgiven for imagining in this description a body of work reinscribing a “clash of cultures” between Africa and Europe or a singular preoccupation with Africa’s colonial encounter with the West.
Read the research article here.

ART X Lagos is raising the bar for African art and culture
By Dele Yusuf Posted on Monday, 8 November 2021 15:51,
SCALING THE HEIGHTS ART X Lagos is raising the bar for African art and culture By Dele Yusuf Posted on Monday, 8 November 2021 15:51, updated on Tuesday, 9 November 2021 13:04 ART X Lagos Fair Showcases Best Of African Art Alonhomba 1, The Power of Alliances by Nuits Balnéaires presented at ART X Lagos 2021 ART X Lagos is running as a physical fair from November 4-7, while its online version runs from November 4-21. Works of young and veteran artists dot the galleries, each telling a unique story about Africa’s culture and lost identities.
When Tokini Peterside launched ART X Lagos as West Africa’s pre-eminent international art fair in 2016, she wanted to restore visual arts back to its former glory and bring it back to its rightful place in the national conversation.
Read the rest of the article here.

‘We have nothing left’ – the catastrophic consequences of criminalising livelihoods in west Africa
By Ini Dele-Adedeji, Amanda Schmid-Scott and Gernot Klantschnig, November 9, 2021

We were in Obalende: a bustling working-class neighbourhood of office buildings, shops and residential areas, on Lagos Island, Nigeria. During the day, the neighbourhood teems with small market stalls selling all manner of things, from fruit and vegetables to electronics, tailored clothes and everyday household items. In the evenings, new stalls spring up to cater for commuters queuing for buses, and noisy street-side bars open to provide distraction and refreshment for people coming back from a long day at work.
Read the rest of the article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Covid-19 and the Dialectics of Global Pandemics in Africa
[جائحة كوفيد وتجليات الأوبئة العالمية في إفريقيا]
Author: (Ed.) Munyaradzi Mawere, Bernard Chazovachii, Francis Machingura

Since 2019, the Coronavirus has forced most economies onto a downward spiral. Despite concerted global attempts at observing World Health Organization guidelines, the Coronavirus has been changing peoples’ lives, forcing most economies onto their knees, endangering lives and livelihoods, making a mockery of global medicine and causing the widespread despair and helplessness that has come to be known as ‘the new normal’. The volume’s 16 well-researched chapters argue that despite Covid-19’s enormous lessons and predictions about even greater future pandemics, humanity can ill-afford to relent in its determination to conquer the pandemic in the same way that human resolve has defeated past pandemic. As such, the volume provides hope and direction to the global community on how best to deal with Covid-19 and pandemics of similar or even higher magnitude in the future.
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

Faith, War, and Slavery: A History of the Colonial Conquest of Sudan (1881-1898)
[الدين والحرب والعبودية: تاريخ الفتح الاستعماري للسودان (1881-1898)]
Author (s): Patricia Teixeira Santos and Suresh Kumar

This book is a deep study on the roots of the present Sudan that project light over Sudanese history and invites readers for a future visit. Sudan and its traditions are not easy to be disclosed, at first glance, and its wealth is not immediately perceived. Patricia Teixeira manages to pursue this task with great ability and wisdom and unveils present history and traditions that are still valid and daily cultivated to the readers.
Publisher: Om Publications, India, 2021.

Uganda’s Civil Society
[المجتمع المدني في أوغندا]
Author: (Ed.) John De Coninck and Arthur Larok.

Is the notion of ‘civil society’ helpful in understanding Uganda’s history and in positing scenarios for the future? Has civil society made a mark over the years? What drives its development and how does it relate to the State? What values inform the sector, what are current challenges and how might these be addressed? The editors have brought together twenty articles, focused on Uganda’s civil society, its history, characteristics, challenges and prospects: a first home for a range of thought-provoking views – whether previously published or not. The editors argue that, if civil society is to help citizens control their destinies, its leaders must spell out how they believe substantive change can happen, and relearn the value of solidarity and collective action, rather than get caught up in the cutthroat competition that celebrates brands and logos.
Publisher: Fountain Publishers, Uganda, 2021

The Algerian Dream: Youth and the Quest for Dignity
[الحلم الجزائري: الشباب والبحث عن صون ماء الوجه ]
Author: Andrew Farrand

This book invites readers to discover this generation, their hopes for the future and, most significantly, the frustrations that have brought them into the streets en masse since 2019, peacefully challenging a long-established order. After seven years living and working alongside these young people across Algeria, Andrew G. Farrand shares his insights on what makes the next generation tick in North Africa’s sleeping giant. Few outsiders have had the privilege to get to know Algeria and its youth so intimately-or to observe firsthand this pivotal chapter in the nation’s history. It’s a story that reveals much about the relationship between citizens and leaders, about the sanctity of human dignity, and about the power of dreams and the courage to pursue them.
Publisher: New Degree Press, 2021

Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia
[ إمبراطورية المطاط: تدافع شركة فايرستون على البلاد والسلطة في ليبيريا]
Author: Gregg Mitman

In the early 1920s, Americans owned 80 percent of the world’s automobiles and consumed 75 percent of the world’s rubber. But only one percent of the world’s rubber grew under the U.S. flag, creating a bottleneck that hampered the nation’s explosive economic expansion. To solve its conundrum, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company turned to a tiny West African nation, Liberia, founded in 1847 as a free Black republic.
Publisher: New Press , 2021.

A Tapestry of African Histories With Longer Times and Wider Geopolitics
[نسيج من التاريخ الأفريقي ذي الأزمنة النائية والجغرافيا السياسية المتشابكة]
Author: Nicholas K. Githuku

In A Tapestry of African Histories: With Longer Times and Wider Geopolitics, contributors demonstrate that African historians are neither comfortable nor content with studying continental or global geopolitical, social, and economic events across the superficial divide of time as if they were disparate or disconnected. Instead, the chapters within the volume reevaluate African history through a geopolitically transcendent lens that brings African countries into conversation with other pertinent histories both within and outside of the continent. The collection analyzes the pre- and post-colonial eras within African countries such as Kenya, Malawi, and Sudan, examining major historical figures and events, struggles for independence and stability, contemporary urban settlements, social and economic development, as well as constitutional, legal, and human rights issues that began in the colonial era and persist to this day.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

Amílcar Cabral: The Life of a Reluctant Nationalist
[أميلكار كابرال: حياة مناضل وطني متحير]
Author: António Tomás

On 20 January 1973, the Bissau-Guinean revolutionary Amílcar Cabral was killed by militants from his own party. Cabral had founded the PAIGC in 1960 to fight for the liberation of Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde. The insurgents were Bissau- Guineans, aiming to get rid of the Cape Verdeans who dominated the party elite. Despite Cabral’s assassination, Portuguese Guinea became the independent Republic of Guinea- Bissau. The guerrilla war that Cabral had started and led precipitated a chain of events that would lead to the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, toppling the forty-year-old authoritarian regime. This paved the way for the rest of Portugal’s African colonies to achieve independence.
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2020.

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (

Research Africa News: October 22nd, 2021

Research Africa News: October 22nd, 2021

103 African Writers Respond to Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel Prize Win by Ainehi Edoro, October 12, 2021

Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah is the 2021 Nobel laureate for literature. The Swedish Academy shared the news on October 7th. They praised “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugees in the gulf between cultures and continents.” Gurnah has published 10 novels and is the 7th African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, following Albert Camus (1957), Wole Soyinka (1986), Naguib Mahfouz (1988), Nardine Gordimer (1991), J.M Coetzee (2003), and Doris Lessing (2007).
Read the research article here.

Stealing Africa: How Britain looted the continent’s art,
By Nosmot Gbadamosi 12 Oct 2021
Nowadays, the sleepy town of Chibok in northern Nigeria is notorious for the kidnapping of 276 children by Boko Haram. But go back 115 years and this tiny farming community perched atop a hill fought one of the greatest resistances to British colonisation. In November 1906, around 170 British soldiers launched what that country’s parliament called a “punitive expedition” against the town for carrying out annual raids along British trade routes in Borno state..
Read the research article here.

M-Pesa, Opay, Telebirr, Palmpay: How Chinese tech is powering African fintech
Daniel Adeyemi 7th October 2021
In 2013, M-Pesa, Africa’s largest mobile money platform, was faced with a major challenge: Its users couldn’t settle insurance premiums and make bank payments in real-time. Payments made to Kenya Power took 48 hours before reflecting in the company’s systems; other payments, like the one to the National Hospital Insurance Fund, experienced longer delay times, often taking three days before they were acknowledged..
Read the rest of the article here.

Facebook shuts fake accounts in Sudan, as fight for public opinion rages online
By Nafisa Eltahir and Malaika Tapper, Khalid Abdelaziz

CAIRO/KHARTOUM, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Facebook says it has shut down two large networks targeting users in Sudan in recent months, as civilian and military leaders spar with one another over the future of an interim power-sharing arrangement. The battle for public opinion, much of it happening online, is intensifying as Sudan reels from economic crisis and a shaky transition to democracy following 30 years under President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2019.
Read the rest of the article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Friendship with a Purpose: Malawi and Scotland for Sustainable Development
[الصداقة الهادفة النبيلة : ملاوي واسكتلندا من أجل التنمية المستدامة]
Author: Kenneth R. Ross

Poverty and underdevelopment continue to present a profound challenge globally. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals suggest that “Partnership for the Goals” will be key to success. This booklet explores the innovative people-to-people partnership developed by Malawi and Scotland during the 21st century. It identifies distinctive features of this international collaboration: • The priority of the relational • The mobilisation of civil society • Government in synergy with people • A reciprocal partnership for development. This is a model that invites emulation and challenges Malawians and Scots to be ambitious as they work together for sustainable development..
Publisher: Mzuni Press, Malawi, 2021.

Beyond the Political Spider: Critical Issues in African Humanities
[ما وراء العنكبوت السياسي: قضايا حرجة في العلوم الإنسانية الأفريقية]
Author: Kwesi Yankah

This is the first title in the newly established African Humanities Association (AHA) publication series. By integrating his own biography into a critique of the global politics of knowledge production, Yankah, through a collection of essays, interrogates critical issues confronting the Humanities that spawn intellectual hegemonies and muffle African voices. Using the example of Ghana, he brings under scrutiny, amongst others, endemic issues of academic freedom, gender inequities, the unequal global academic order, and linguistic imperialism in language policies in governance. In the face of these challenges, the author deftly navigates the complex terrain of indigenous knowledge and language in the context of democratic politics, demonstrating that agency can be liberatory when emphasising indigenous knowledge, especially expressed through the idiom of local languages and symbols, including Ananse, the protean spider, folk hero in Ghana and most parts of the pan-African world.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2021.

[كله خراب]
Author: (editor) Ghassan Hage.

In eleven sharp essays, the contributors to Decay attend to the processes and experiences of symbolic and material decay in a variety of sociopolitical contexts across the globe. They examine decay in its myriad manifestations—biological, physical, organizational, moral, political, personal, and social and in numerous contexts, including colonialism and imperialism, governments and the state, racism, the environment, and infrastructure. The volume’s topics are wide in scope, ranging from the discourse of social decay in contemporary Australian settler colonialism and the ways infrastructures both create and experience decay to cultural decay in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war and the relations among individual, institutional, and societal decay in an American high-security prison. By using decay as a problematic and expounding its mechanisms, conditions, and temporalities, the contributors provide nuanced and rigorous means to more fully grapple with the exigencies of the current sociopolitical moment.
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2021

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War
[وقد ولد في السواد الأفريقي :دور الأفارقة في صناعة العالم الحديث من عام 1471 حتى الحرب العالمية الثانية]
Author: Howard W. French

Creating a historical narrative that begins with the commencement of commercial relations between Portugal and Africa in the fifteenth century and ends with the onset of World War II, Born in Blackness interweaves precise historical detail with poignant, personal reportage. In so doing, it dramatically retrieves the lives of major African historical figures, from the unimaginably rich medieval emperors who traded with the Near East and beyond, to the Kongo sovereigns who heroically battled seventeenth-century European powers, to the ex-slaves who liberated Haitians from bondage and profoundly altered the course of American history.
Publisher: Liveright, 2021., 2021.

The Oxford Handbook of the African Sahel
[دليل أكسفورد لمنطقة الساحل الأفريقي]
Author: Leonardo A. Villalón (editor)

Long on the margins of both scholarly and policy concerns, the countries of the West African Sahel have recently attracted world attention, primarily as a key battleground in the global ‘war on terror’. This book moves beyond this narrow focus, providing a multidimensional and interdisciplinary assessment of the region in all of its complexity. The focus is on the six countries at the heart of the Sahelian geographic space: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. Collectively, the chapters explore the commonalities and interconnections that link these countries and their fates, while also underscoring their diversity and the variations in their current realities.
Publisher: Oxford University Press , 2021.

Community Stewardship
[ابن القوم]
Author: Abel Ndeh Sanjou-Tadzong

Ours is a world that is constituted and reinvented through the personal and shared stories we tell. In the spirit and understanding that each and every one of us, however big or small, has a story to tell, I am pleased to share with you this modest account of myself, who rose from very humble beginnings into community stewardship. It is only one story from one vantage point, which I hope will contribute to the dynamism and quest for recreation in eternity that makes our world what it is: a melting pot of experiences. My idea is to expose and share my personal experience with others and hopefully, leave them with a thing or two to take along in their own life journeys. This approach is a school from where people’s minds are tickled with new ideas and sooner or later, develop their intellectual and human capacities as caring and sharing beings. Through the story of my life, I want to create an awareness for people to stay focused on some basic principles or virtues of life such as belief and faith in the forces, big and small, that shape our affairs in ways we can only marvel at. The story is also an invitation to cherish virtues such as hard work, honesty, empathy, justice, love and respect, trust, confidence, transparency and accountability. These virtues are indispensable for in our quest and commitment to peaceful coexistence and to unity in our creative diversity as humans of various races and cultures.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2021.

Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa
[ المعارف العلاجية في المهاجر الأفريقية الأطلسية ]
Author: Kalle Kananoja

Kalle Kananoja tells the story of how pre-colonial communities throughout the west coast of Africa employed a wide range of medical and spiritual strategies to treat all kinds of diseases. In the sixteenth century, the arrival of European traders and colonists initiated an exchange of healing knowledge that moved across the Atlantic for the next three-hundred years. The initial links in this chain of exchanges were established by European settlers or visitors who, given the limited number of European doctors and medications available, sought the services of African healers whose methods were often seen as more suited and efficacious in the local environments. Missionaries, travelers and botanists also added to these exchanges by collecting and systematizing some of the knowledge they acquired from African informants.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

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Research Africa News: July 19th, 2021

Research Africa News: July 19th, 2021

KK and the USA
By Andy DeRoche

The less well-known, and complicated, story of Kenneth Kaunda’s central role in relations between Zambia and the United States.

When Kenneth David Kaunda died in Lusaka, Zambia on June 17, 2021, it marked the passing of the last of the great African nationalists who led the fight against racism and colonialism. Kaunda, known by all as “KK,” first emerged on the international stage in the 1950s as an organizer for the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress (NRANC). He rode around the vast northern province on his bicycle with his guitar in tow, giving speeches and singing freedom songs in scores of villages and thereby inspiring the locals to found NRANC branches. After serving time in prison for his activism, he emerged to take charge of the splinter United National Independence Party (UNIP) in 1960.
Read the rest of the article here.

Haiti Has Been Abandoned—by the Media, the US, and the World Human rights activist
Antoinette Duclaire’s murder is the latest for a country in chaos—where an obsession with elections obscures a complete absence of democracy or accountability.
By Amy Wilentz, JULY 6, 2021

The last time I was in Haiti, in December 2019, there had been several kidnappings before I arrived—and there would be many, many more after I left—but my two-week visit was blessedly free of kidnappings, murder, etc. Back then you could imagine you were semi-safe driving at night—if you had a car full of male friends driving behind you, and another one in front of you.
Read the rest of the article here.

A Libyan Revenant
Betrayed to his factional rivals by Saudi Arabia and left for dead, a Libyan militia commander got his chance at revenge.
BY Frederic Wehrey, July 14, 2021.

Early in the afternoon of June 25, 2017, Saudi authorities at the immigration counter at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah pulled aside for questioning two young Libyan men who were flying back to Libya after performing the umrah pilgrimage. At first, one of the men, who ran a religious tourism company, thought that the questioning would be related to an overstayed visa on a previous visit and therefore nothing to be overly alarmed about. In fact, the Saudis had stopped them because Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s ally, had placed the Libyans on a terrorism list months before, for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and their alleged earlier involvement in kidnapping Egyptian diplomats in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Read the article here.

Racism and the equality delusion The real critical race theory
Tommy J. Curry |16th July 2021

We tend to think that racism will one day be overcome. But this belief in incremental progress isn’t shared by many black scholars. The much maligned and misunderstood founder of Critical Race Theory, Derrick Bell, pronounced racism a permanent feature of American society. His argument that the very foundations of liberal democracy in the United States make equality between white and black people impossible might be hard to accept, but it remains valid, writes Tommy Curry.
Read the research article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Curriculum Reform: Initial Primary School Curriculum and Assessment Reform Experiences in Malawi
[إصلاح المناهج الدراسية: مناهج المدارس الابتدائية الأولية وتجارب إصلاح التقييم التعليمي في مالاوي]
Author: Wezzie Chiziwa

Countries worldwide are engaged in education reforms in trying to respond to certain issues ranging from socioeconomic to political and technological changes. Many countries around the world thus engage in various education reforms to deal with such challenges. Current curricular thoughts contend that the previous education did not prepare the learners with adequate knowledge and skills to deal with the everyday challenges and to enhance lifelong learning. In order to address the shortfalls of the previous curriculum, there has been a paradigm shift in the way education systems operate. Worldwide, countries are embracing the learner centred approach to the teaching and learning process as opposed to the traditional teacher centred approach. Another popular reform is Outcome Based Education (OBE). Malawi embraced OBE in its education system beginning with primary school followed by secondary school in 2001 and 2015 respectively.
Publisher:Livingstonia Press, Malawi, 2021.

At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War
[بالتحديد : الآداب الأفريقية ودراسات ما بعد الاستعمار والحرب الباردة ]
Author: Monica Popescu

In At Penpoint Monica Popescu traces the development of African literature during the second half of the twentieth century to address the intertwined effects of the Cold War and decolonization on literary history. Popescu draws on archival materials from the Soviet-sponsored Afro-Asian Writers Association and the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom alongside considerations of canonical literary works by Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ousmane Sembène, Pepetela, Nadine Gordimer, and others. She outlines how the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union played out in the aesthetic and political debates among African writers and intellectuals. These writers decolonized aesthetic canons even as superpowers attempted to shape African cultural production in ways that would advance their ideological and geopolitical goals. Placing African literature at the crossroads of postcolonial theory and studies of the Cold War, Popescu provides a new reassessment of African literature, aesthetics, and knowledge production.
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2020.

My Night in Captivity: A Memoir
[ليلة في الأسر: مذكرة حياة]
Author: Christian Cardinal Wiyghan Tumi

In this gripping, lucid and succinct account, Cardinal Tumi, the retired Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon, invites readers into the dreary night of his captivity by “Amba Boys” – so-called liberation fighters seeking the restoration of the erstwhile British Southern Cameroons. Tumi recounts the circumstances, actors and intrigues leading up to his capture along with Fon Sehm Mbinglo I, the paramount traditional ruler of the Nso people. Find out how the Cardinal regained his freedom and his proposals on how to resolve the five-year conflict that has decimated the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon..
Publisher: Spears Media Press, Cameroon, 2021.

Creating Spaces of Hope: Young Artists and the New Imagination in Egypt
[ خلق فضاءات للأمل: الفنانون الشباب ومتطلبات الخيال الخلاق في مصر]
Author: Caroline Seymour-Jorn

It is now just over a decade since protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square started Egypt’s chapter in the events of the Arab Spring. Much has been made in western criticism of art and culture’s role in the revolution, but the everyday cultural production of studio artists, graffiti artists, musicians, and writers since has attracted less attention. How have artists responded personally and artistically to the political transformation ? What has social role of art been in these periods of transition and uncertainty? What are the aesthetic shifts and stylistic transformations present in the contemporary Egyptian art world?
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, 2021.

Remnants of the Franco-Algerian Rupture: Archiving Postcolonial Minorities.
[ بقايا التفتق الفرنسي الجزائري: قراءات في أرشفة أقليات ما بعد الاستعمار]
Author: Mona El Khoury

At the end of French colonization in Algeria, four categories of people held French citizenship or had strong ties with France: European settlers, Jews, mixed-race individuals, and Harkis. The end of the War of Independence exiled most of them from Algeria, traumatized them in various ways, and transferred many to metropolitan France. Remnants of the Franco-Algerian Rupture: Archiving Postcolonial Minorities examines the legacies of these transnational identities through narratives that dissent from official histories, both in France and Algeria. This literature takes particular stories of exile and loss and constructs a memory around a Mosaic father figure embodying the native land, Algeria. Mona El Khoury argues that these filiation narratives create a postcolonial archive: a discursive foundation that makes historical minorities visible,while disrupting French and Algerian hegemonies. El Khoury questions the power of literature to repair history while contending that these literary strategies seek to do justice to the dead Algerian father, even as they valorize enduring minority identifications.
Publisher: Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2020.

Abdellah Taïa’s Queer Migrations: Non-Places, Affect, Temporalities.
[هجرات عبد الله طايع المغربي وأنشتطه المثلية: تأملات في اللامكانية ، التأثيرية ، الوقائعية]
Author (Editors): Denis M. Provencher and Siham Bouamer

In this first edited collection in English on Abdellah Taïa, Denis M. Provencher and Siham Bouamer frame the distinctiveness of the Moroccan author’s migration by considering current scholarship in French and Francophone studies, post-colonial studies, affect theory, queer theory, and language and sexuality. In contrast to critics that consider Taïa to immigrate and integrate successfully to France as a writer and intellectual, Provencher and Bouamer argue that the author’s writing is replete with elements of constant migration, “comings and goings,” cruel optimism, flexible accumulation of language over borders, transnational filiations, and new forms of belonging and memory making across time and space. At the same time, his constantly evolving identity emerges in many non-places, defined as liminal and border narrative spaces where unexpected and transgressive new forms of belonging emerge without completely shedding shame, mourning, or melancholy.
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2021.

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next Research Africa News edition. To share with the general mailing list, please send your contents directly to (

Research Africa News: September 29th, 2021

Research Africa News: September 29th, 2021

In Memoriam: distinguished Professor Charles W. Mills, a philosopher who changed the conversation about race in the U.S.
The Graduate Center community is immensely saddened by the passing of Distinguished Professor Charles W. Mills (Philosophy) who died on September 20, 2021, at age 70 after battling cancer. He was an esteemed scholar and treasured colleague and mentor whose loss is deeply felt. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Read the research article here.

No One’s Memory: Blackness at the Limits of Comparative Slavery No One’s Memory: Blackness at the Limits of Comparative Slavery
Parisa Vaziri, Cornell University

“If it is true that historical knowledge demands that its object be isolated and withdrawn from any libidinal investment come from the historian, then it is certain that the only result of this way of ‘putting down’ [rédiger] history would be to ‘put it down’ [réduire].” [1]
In this paper, I reflect upon a series of patterns in Indian Ocean slavery historiography. My claim is that historiography’s inheritance of disciplinary authority about the truth of race is unearned, unthought. In cataloguing the recurring tropes of comparison between Indian Ocean slavery and its putative foil, Atlantic slavery, I argue that repeating comparisons express a stewing tension between Indian Ocean and Atlantic slavery historiography.
Read the research article here.

‘The Last Nomad’: Somali refugee, soccer mom, and everything in between
Ryan Lenora Brown Staff writer, August 30, 2021

The Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ famously wrote that “in Africa, when an old man dies, a library burns down.” Shugri Said Salh found herself haunted by those words. She had grown up in a nomadic community in Somalia, but she was raising her three children in California on an all-American diet of soccer practices, piano lessons, and playdates. She loved the life she had given them, but she also didn’t want them to lose track of where they had come from.

Read the rest of the article here.

Universities Say They Want More Diverse Faculties. So Why Is Academia Still So White?
By J. Nathan Matias, Neil Lewis Jr. and Elan Hope Graphics by Jasmine Mithani Filed under Higher Education Published Sep. 7, 2021

When she was hired as a professor by Harvard University in 2013, Lorgia García Peña was the only Black Latina on a tenure track in the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. But in 2019, she was denied tenure even though her department chair and two deans had told her that she should apply for early tenure. Her tenure committee also unanimously recommended she be promoted, and another committee above that endorsed its recommendation.
Read the rest of the article here.

Why are coups making a comeback in Africa?
Analysis by Remi Adekoya, for CNN Updated 3:47 AM ET, Mon September 13, 2021

In just over a year, Africa has experienced three successful coups (two in Mali and one more recently in Guinea), one unsuccessful coup attempt in Niger, and an arbitrary military transfer of power in Chad following the assassination of its president. These power grabs threaten a reversal of the democratization process Africa has undergone in the past two decades and a return to the era of coups as the norm.
Read the article here.

Helmi Sharawy’s Critique of Racial and Colonial Paradigms in Egyptian African Studies
Zeyad el Nabolsy, Cornell University
This paper seeks to understand how conceptions of essential differences between “Egypt” and North Africa more broadly on the one hand, and “Sub-Saharan Africa” on the other hand have informed African studies in Egypt. It is commonly claimed that most Egyptians do not think of themselves as Africans; in this paper I aim to explore how this popular self-understanding has both informed African studies in Egypt and has been affected by academic discourses.
Read the research article here.

After Kabul, is Mogadishu next?
Makau Mutua, September 25, 2021

I’ve been mercilessly pilloried in the past when I’ve suggested the Somali state is nonsense on stilts that should be unwound, or dismembered. I understand the patriotic jingoism and the pain my Somali brethren must feel when I utter this bitter truth. I would see red too, and curse the speaker. But facts are stubborn things. Undeniable
Read the research article here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Babingo: the Noble Rebel
[بابينجو: المتمرد النبيل]
Author: Moussibahou Mazou

In Pointe-Noire of the 1950’s lived Paul Makouta, a “civilized” and westernized native who was very proud of communicating exclusively in French with Madeleine Mamatouka, his wife, Alex his only son, and the other children of his household. Under no circumstance did Makouta allow the members of his family speak the language of Metropolitan France with the slightest trace of a Bantu accent. Again, anyone who dared speak Kituba, an indigenous language, with the family’s domestic staff was liable to severe reprimand. Clearly, the father’s intransigence was at odds with the communicative practices in the neighborhood and of children commuting daily to school. Little did Alex Babingo realize that his initial acceptance of the irrationality of the father’s prohibition in colonized Congo was only the start of a trajectory which, from the other side of the world, would impel his return to the very roots of his culture and ancestral traditions in the now independent Republic of Congo or Congo-Brazzaville.
Publisher: Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana, 2021.

Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad
[أبناؤكم تحت خدمتكم: نداء الجهاديين في تونس]
Author: Danny Adeno Abebe

Tunisia became one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State—even though the country stands out as a democratic bright spot of the Arab uprisings and despite the fact that it had very little history of terrorist violence within its borders prior to 2011. This book highlights the longer-term causes that affected jihadi recruitment in Tunisia, including the prior history of Tunisians joining jihadi organizations and playing key roles in far-flung parts of the world over the past four decades. He contends that the jihadi group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia was able to take advantage of the universal prisoner amnesty, increased openness, and the lack of governmental policy toward it after the revolution. In turn, this provided space for greater recruitment and subsequent mobilization to fight abroad once the Tunisian government cracked down on the group in 2013. Zelin marshals cutting-edge empirical findings, extensive primary source research, and on-the-ground fieldwork, including a variety of documents in Arabic going as far back as the 1980s and interviews with Ansar al-Sharia members and Tunisian fighters returning from Syria.
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Travel and the Pan African Imagination
[الترحال وصناعة الخيال الأفريقي]
Author: Tracy Keith Flemming

Travel and the Pan African Imagination explores the African Atlantic world as a productive theater or space where modernity, racialized dominance, and racialized resistance took form. The book stresses the importance of placing three Atlantic figures—the Charleston, South Carolina-based armed resistance leader Denmark Vesey; the West African emigration advocate, Edward Wilmot Blyden; and the Christian missionary and teacher in Liberia as well as the United States, Alexander Crummell—within an Atlantic context and as African world community figures between the late-eighteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The book also examines the religious origins of Black Power ideology and modern Pan Africanism as products of the intense dialogue within the African world community about concepts of modernity, progress, and civilization.
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2021.

Islamic Scholarship in Africa: New Directions and Global Contexts
[المعارف الإسلامية في إفريقيا: أفق جديدة جديدة ومحاورعالمية]
Author: Ousmane Oumar Kane (editor)

In 1937, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, travelling to Mecca to make his first hajj, encountered Egyptian scholars who couldn’t fathom that Niasse’s erudition was a product of his fully Senegalese education. This book presents a state-of-the-art volume that seeks to pulverize that blind spot. Authors underscore the contributions of Black Muslim scholars to Islamic knowledge, the global connections that have long tied sub-Saharan Africa to the global Islamic world, the ways that orality and textuality interact with each other historically and up through to the social media age, in addition to exploring debates around education, spirituality, and Ajami. In the interview, we discuss Kane’s scholarly journey and the greater intellectual project of bridging the knowledge divide separating “Europhone” and “non-Europhone” scholars in the study of Islam in Africa.
Publisher: James Currey, 2021, 2021.

From Africa To Zion: The Shepherd Boy Who Became Israel’s First Ethiopian-born Journalist
[من إفريقيا إلى بني صهيون: الراعي الصغير الذي أصبح أول صحفي إسرائيلي مولود في إثيوبيا ]
Author: Danny Adeno Abebe

In 1984, in an unprecedented act of brotherhood, Israel airlifted thousands of persecuted and starving Ethiopian Jews from Africa to Israel. They had been waiting in Ethiopia for millennia, sustained by the hope to return home to the Holy Land. Among the refugees was an 8-year-old boy, Danny Adeno Abebe. Now an Israeli journalist, Abebe tells the story of his family and his village, and the journey they traveled from Ethiopia through Sudan to Israel, and the even longer distance from a rural village life without indoor plumbing, electricity, or books, to a modern society. Many who left the villages did not survive the hardships of the journey, and many of those who did reach the Promised Land were emotionally wounded in the process. In his new country, Adeno Abebe encountered rejection as well as embrace. He experienced both astonishing support and appalling prejudice. As he matured, he recognized that both attitudes exist among his former countrymen in Africa, as well.
Publisher: Miskal Publishing – Yedioth Books, 2021.

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Research Africa News: June 25th, 2021

Research Africa News: June 25th, 2021

”The Dialectics of Maguphilia and Maguphobia”
By Issa Shivji Professor Emeritus, University of Dar Es Salaam
Codesria Bulletin online, N°13, June 2021

CODESRIA has been keen to analyse emerging trends in Africa and beyond. We have previously shared reflections on Mali and provided analyses of elections in Uganda and Ghana, to name but these few. In this CODESRIA Bulletin Online, we share with you Prof. Issa Shivji’s engaging study on “The Dialectics of Maguphilia and Maguphobia.” Terming Magufuli as a political phenomenon, he documents how its ‘messianic Bonaparte’ character emerged out of the history of party politics in Tanzania and concludes with a stark lesson for the working people – they are on their own and cannot wait for a messiah to deliver them..
Read the rest of the article here.

Why has Europe’s Past Become Africa’s Postcolonial Present? Reflections on Mahmood Mamdani’s Ideas on Decolonising the Political Community
By Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni Chair, Epistemologies of the Global South, University of Bayreuth, Germany

The leading Ugandan intellectual, Mahmood Mamdani, has since the publication of his seminal book Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (1996) been making cutting-edge interventions in understanding how Europe ruled Africa, how colonialists dealt with what they called the ‘native question’, how colonial governmentality interpellated African nationalism and shaped African political consciousness, how colonialism manufactured problematic, antagonistic and racially hierarchised political identities, how the legacy of late colonialism lives on in postcolonial Africa long after the dismantlement of the physical empire, and indeed how to make sense of conflicts and violence including genocides.
Read the rest of the article at CODESRIA.

Newly discovered cathedral in Dongola – Polish research in Sudan Archaeologists working in Old Dongola (Sudan) found the remains of what may be the largest church known from medieval Nubia.
BY J. Chyla 31 MAY 2021

Newly discovered cathedral could have been the seat of an archbishop governing the church hierarchy over a 1000 km-long stretch along the Nile, between the 1st and 5th cataracts. The archbishop of Dongola oversaw the bishop of Faras, whose cathedral with its famous wall paintings was discovered by Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski 60 years ago.
Read the article here.

The Black Body As A Moving Ancestral Archive
By Wanelisa Xaba, MAY 20, 2021.

My thoughts about the body as a moving ancestral archive were prompted by the fire at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Or rather, by my disappointment at Black people’s response to the fire that destroyed indigenous archives at the African Studies Library. As I waded through the collective Black middle class (?) despair on my social media timeline, I was overwhelmed with anger..
Read the research article here.

Sudan’s ‘forgotten’ pyramids risk being buried by shifting sand dunes June
The Conversation, 14, 2021

The word “pyramid” is synonymous with Egypt, but it is actually neighbouring Sudan that is home to the world’s largest collection of these spectacular ancient structures.
Beginning around 2500BC, Sudan’s ancient Nubian civilisation left behind more than 200 pyramids that rise out of the desert across three archaeological sites: El Kurru, Jebel Barkal and Meroe, in addition to temples, tombs and royal burial chambers.
Read the rest of the story here.

River Nile dam: Egypt new African allies
By Jennifer Aldric, June 24, 2021.

Armed forces of Egypt and Sudan complete a joint military exercise in southern Kardavan province, Sudan on May 31, 2021 Egypt is trying to strengthen its diplomatic and military clout in Africa amid an escalating dispute with Ethiopia over the building of a huge dam on a tributary of the River Nile, writes Egypt analyst Magdi Abdelhadi. The Egyptian Geographic Society, established in 1875, houses some valuable manuscripts that reflect Egypt’s long-standing interest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

From #Rhodesmustfall Movements to #Humansmustfall Movements: African Liberation Movements in the Age of the Transhumanist Geographies of Death
[من مقاومة الى أخري: حركات التحرير الأفريقية في عصر جغرافيات الموت وعهد ما بعد الإنسانية]
Author: (editors) Bornway Mwanyara Chiripanhura, Artwell Nhemachena, and Jairos Kangira

Might it be possible that the world is being migrated into an era where the imperial periphery will be increasingly governed through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics designed to replace human beings? Celebrated as efficient, strong, unfailing, tireless, precise and beyond corruption, AI and robots are set to replace African leaders who are imperially deemed to be and consistently condemned as corrupt, failed, weak and inefficient. But, if these AI and robots are neo-imperial tools and machinations, the million-dollar question is whether empire is not returning to recolonise the [supposedly inefficient] Africans via the new technologies and machinism? Where Africans once celebrated their liberation war movements, empire has emplaced what it calls liberation technologies designed to supposedly liberate African youths from their own states and governments led by liberation movements. Where Africans once celebrated their liberation war movements, empire has placed its own NGOs/CSOs spewing liberal ideologies designed to ostensibly liberate African youths from their own supposedly failed and corrupt states and government leaders. With African youths/citizens allying not with their liberation movements but with the liberation technologies and liberal NGOs/CSOs, it is not surprising why African citizens oppose their states-led Fast-Track Land Redistribution Programmes while ironically they happily celebrate Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccines.
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

Sites of Contestation: Encounters with the Ernst and Ruth Dammann Collection in the Archives of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien
[ساحات الاحتكاك: دروس من أرشيفات مجموعة إرنست وروث داممان]
Author: Julia Rensing, Lorena Rizzo, Wanda Rutishauser

This book is a collection of essays written by emerging scholars at the University of Basel on the basis of their subjective encounters with a specific archival collection housed in the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel. The Ernst and Ruth Dammann collection consists of around 8100 images, 750 audio recordings and numerous manuscripts, diaries and notes. The German couple conducted research on Namibian oral literatures and languages as they were spoken and performed across the country in the early 1950s. Based on in-depth engagement with the textual, visual and audio records assembled in this intricate collection, the authors of this book critically interrogated the implications of opening a colonial archive, exploring alternative ways of reading and understanding the historical material. As unique examples of close reading and listening, the essays propose creative ways of attending to the politics of race, gender, famine, ethnography, biography and fiction in colonial knowledge production.
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia, 2021.

Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria: Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty
[عن المدارس القرآنية في شمال نيجريا]
Author: Hannah Hoechner

This book offers an alternative perspective on youth, faith, and poverty. Mobilizing insights from scholarship on education, poverty research and childhood and youth studies, Hannah Hoechner, lecturer at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia, describes how religious discourses can moderate feelings of inadequacy triggered by experiences of exclusion, and how Qur’anic school enrollment offers a way forward in constrained circumstances, even though it likely reproduces poverty in the long run. In our conversation we discuss the rural economy of Northern Nigeria, educational options for young boys, the activities of the Qur’anic school, how boys support themselves through domestic service, youth masculinity, poverty and economic instability, politics of respectability, the “prayer economy” and spiritual services, and participatory research and video production.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

The Invention of the Maghreb
[اختراع المغرب العربي ]
Author: Abdelmajid Hannoum

Under French colonial rule, the region of the Maghreb emerged as distinct from two other geographical entities that, too, are colonial inventions: the Middle East and Africa. In this book, Abdelmajid Hannoum demonstrates how the invention of the Maghreb started long before the conquest of Algiers and lasted until the time of independence, and beyond, to our present. Through an interdisciplinary study of French colonial modernity, Hannoum examines how colonialism made extensive use of translations of Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts and harnessed high technologies of power to reconfigure the region and invent it. In the process, he analyzes a variety of forms of colonial knowledge including historiography, anthropology, cartography, literary work, archaeology, linguistics, and racial theories. He shows how local engagement with colonial politics and its modes of knowledge were instrumental in the modern making of the region, including in its postcolonial era, as a single unit divorced from Africa and from the Middle East. Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

The Outside: Migration As Life in Morocco
[من النوادر: الهجرة كطريقة للحياة في المغرب]
Author: Alice Elliot

The Outside: Migration as Life in Morocco (Indiana UP, 2021) traces how migration has come to occupy a striking place in the lives of many Moroccans. A full 10 percent of the population now lives outside the country, affecting individual and collective life in countless unanticipated ways. In this intimate ethnography of rural Morocco, Alice Elliot considers the experience of migration from the point of view of the families and people, mostly women, who have not (yet) left. Elliot shows how the specter of migration has permeated life, from kinship relations to intimacy between spouses and to the imagination of the future. The Outside seeks to answer the question, what is migration when it becomes the very foundation on which forms of social and individual life are built? New understandings of migration emerge through its intimate textures as Elliot shows how it has become, in some parts of the world, a distinctive condition of everyday life..
Publisher: Indiana University Press, 2021.

Charles de Foucauld’s Reconnaissance au Maroc, 1883–1884: A Critical Edition in English [ استطلاعات شارل دي فوكو في المغرب ، 1883-1884]
Author: Rosemary A. Peters-Hill

This book seeks to turn that model on its head. Rosemary Peters-Hill provides an in-depth examination of the year Foucauld spent exploring Morocco in 1883–1884, after he had resigned his army commission and taught himself Arabic and Hebrew. This book is more than merely a translation: it is a meticulously researched and documented critical edition that addresses the history of nineteenth-century French colonial endeavors and Moroccan resistance to them; cultural traditions and spaces within the closed country where Foucauld sojourned; the intersections of language, politics, and economics with religion; the praxis of Arabic and Berber interactions and the ways in which official cartographies neglect local knowledge of tribal and seasonal rituals; and the failures of Empire when it comes to defining or delimiting national identity.
Publisher: Anthem Press; Critical edition, 2021.

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Research Africa News: May 26th, 2021

Research Africa News: May 26th, 2021
Matters of Obsession: A Sudanese artist’s journey to find his place in the world By Mary Corrigall, 20 May 2021

The fifty-something Sudanese artist, Hussein Salim, attributes the paucity of texts about him to his terrible grasp on English. He has shied away from interviews. In truth, the unique turns of phrase he utters and his economy of language in relaying the essence of his life journey – there are no spare words for idle chatter – add to his charm and make his story more compelling.
Read the rest of the article here.

Cairo in crisis: The Republic of False Truths,
By Alaa Al Aswany, reviewed The story of Egypt’s 2011 revolution is seen through the eyes of various Cairenes, both for and against
From magazine issue: 15 May 2021

Certain novels complicate the very notion of literary enjoyment. This, by the author of the international bestseller The Yacoubian Building, is such a one. Despite its gripping narrative, compelling structure and vivid characters, every time I picked it up it was with a sinking heart. In telling the story of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 through the viewpoint of a variety of Cairenes both for and against, Alaa Al Aswany holds out the slender straw of hope against the slashing shears of repression.
Read the rest of the article here.

The Marathon Men Who Can’t Go Home
In the north Bronx, a small group of elite Ethiopian runners struggle to survive. The persecution they fled was far more harrowing.
By David Alm, Photography by George Grullon, May 21, 2021

Tadesse Yae Dabi lined up with around three dozen other runners at the foot of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. He held his arms close to his chest and bounced on his toes to stay warm. Even after three and a half years, he wasn’t used to the chill of a mid-fall morning in the American Northeast. Back home, in the farmland of central Ethiopia, it never got so cold. Overhead, helicopters filled the air with their deafening whir. Behind him, more than 50,000 people waited to chase the elite field through the five boroughs in the 2019 New York City Marathon.
Read the article here.

NBA teams up with Dikembe Mutombo and former stars to form NBA Africa, which will run Basketball Africa League Basketball Africa League is currently in its inaugural season Jasmyn Wimbish
By Jasmyn Wimbish, May 24, 2021.

The NBA on Monday announced the creation of a new entity called NBA Africa. It will be in charge of the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which is in the midst of its first season after getting postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has partnered with several high-profile investors to form NBA Africa, including former players Dikembe Mutombo, Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill and Joakim Noah.
Read the research article here.

Yet More Proof That Academic Publishing Has Become a Scam
By Daniel Lattier, May 25, 2017.

In it, I pointed out what is commonly known among university professors today, namely, that most of the “peer-reviewed” essays and books they write are read by an extremely small handful of people (like 5-10, half of whom are probably sycophantic graduate students). The principal reason they keep churning them out is the familiar maxim of “publish or perish”—a publication provides two lines on a CV that helps ensure tenure, or at the very least a vanity hit to convince professors of their continued relevance.
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Best “New” African Poets Anthology, 2020
[مختارات الشعراء الأفارقة “الجدد” لعام 2020]
Author: (Editors)/ Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Balddine Moussa, Lorna Telma Zita

Best New African Poets 2020 Anthology has over 352 pieces from 140 African poets from among other African countries: Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana etc, and those of African Diasporas in Portugal, Brazil, the UK, USA, China, etc.
Publisher: Mwanaka Media and Publishing, Zimbabwe, 2021.

Salafism and Political Order in Africa
[السلفية والنظام السياسي في أفريقيا]
Authors: Sebastian Elischer

Violent Islamic extremism is affecting a growing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In some, jihadi Salafi organizations have established home bases and turned into permanent security challengers. However, other countries have managed to prevent the formation or curb the spread of homegrown jihadi Salafi organizations. In this book, Sebastian Elischer provides a comparative analysis of how different West and East African states have engaged with fundamentalist Muslim groups between the 1950s and today. In doing so, he establishes a causal link between state-imposed organizational gatekeepers in the Islamic sphere and the absence of homegrown jihadi Salafism. Illustrating that the contemporary manifestation of violent Islamic extremism in sub-Saharan Africa is an outcome of strategic political decisions that are deeply embedded in countries’ autocratic pasts, he challenges conventional notions of statehood on the African continent, and provides new insight into the evolving relationships between secular and religious authority..
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa.
[التفويض الأعزل: لعنة اللأعضاء التناسلية والحياة السياسية في إفريقيا]
Author: Naminata Diabate

What provocations are posed by a naked woman’s body? What does it mean to those who see her? And what does it signify for the woman herself, in the moment and in memory? In this book, Naminata Diabate recovers the deep historical roots for women’s embodied agency in political action across the African continent. She examines instances of women’s insurgent disrobing in 23 African countries from 1920-2018 and considers the multivalence of ‘genital cursing’ as a means of protest. Diabate’s intervention incorporates visual arts, narrative films and documentaries, alongside newspaper coverage and literary fiction in many languages, to reconstruct the significance of women’s embodied agency and the threat that nakedness posed to established authorities..
Publisher: Duke University Press, 2020.

Dynamism in African Languages and Literature: Towards Conceptualisation of African Potentials
[الحيوية في الآداب واللغات الأفريقية]
Author: (Ediors) Keiko Takemura, Francis B. Nyamnjoh

The book provides novel perspectives towards conceptualisation of African Potentials. It explores diverse and dynamic aspects of linguistic communications in Africa, ranging from convivial multilingual practices to literal and musical arts. The book reflects the diversity and ever-changing dynamism in the African sociolinguistic sphere, that is, metalinguistic discourse in East Africa, sociolinguistic dynamism in Angola, conflict reconciliation speech performed in Ethiopia, and syncretic urban linguistic code called Sheng in Kenya. The volume also explores multi-dimensional relationships between literary arts and the society by investigating such topics as traditional Swahili poetry, publication of children books in Benin, and transformation and reconstruction of Yoruba popular music. The book elucidates dynamic process of creation through mixing of traditional and foreign elements of culture
Publisher: Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2021.

France’s Wars in Chad
[حروب فرنسا في تشاد]
Author: Nathaniel K. Powell

Examining the continuous French military interventions in Chad in the two decades after its independence, this study demonstrates how France’s successful counterinsurgency efforts to protect the regime of François Tombalbaye would ultimately weaken the Chadian state and encourage Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to intervene. In covering the subsequent French efforts to counter Libyan ambitions and the rise to power of Hissène Habré, one of postcolonial Africa’s most brutal dictators, Nathaniel K. Powell demonstrates that French strategies aiming to prevent the collapse of authoritarian regimes had the opposite effect, exacerbating violent conflicts and foreign interventions in Chad and further afield. Based on extensive archival research to trace the causes, course, and impact of French interventions in Chad, this study offers insights and lessons for current interveners – including France – fighting a ‘war on terrorism’ in the Sahel whose strategies and impact parallel those of France in the 1960s–1980s.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Becoming Rwandan: Education, Reconciliation, and the Making of a Post-Genocide Citizen.
[كيف تصنع رواندا: التعليم والمصالحة الوطنية وصياغة نوعية المواطن فيما بعد الإبادة الجماعية]
Author: S. Garnett Russel.

argues that although the Rwandan government makes use of global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the curricular intentions of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and an undermining of sustainable peace. She is assistant professor of international and comparative education and the director of the George Clement Bond Center for African Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 2020.

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Research Africa News: April 17th, 2021

Research Africa News: April 17th, 2021

Geographies of war-making in East Africa
By Samar Al-Bulushi

In late January, reports circulated on social media about a suspected US drone strike in southern Somalia, in the Al-Shabaab controlled Ma’moodow town in Bakool province. Debate quickly ensued on Twitter about whether the newly installed Biden administration was responsible for this strike, which was reported to have occurred at 10 p.m. local time on January 29th, 2021.
Read the rest of the article here.

How to Think About Empire
Boston Review speaks with Arundhati Roy on censorship, storytelling, and her problem with the term ‘postcolonialism.’ ARUNDHATI ROY, AVNI SEJPAL

This interview is featured in Boston Review’s Fall 2018 issue Evil Empire. Order your copy today! In her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), Arundhati Roy asks, “What is the acceptable amount of blood for good literature?” This relationship between the imagination and the stuff of real life—violence, injustice, power—is central to Roy’s writing, dating back to her Booker Prize–winning debut novel The God of Small Things (1997). For the twenty years between the release of her first and second novels, the Indian writer has dismayed many—those who preferred that she stick to storytelling and those who were comfortable with the turn of global politics around 9/11—by voicing her political dissent loudly and publicly.
Read the article here.

South Sudan has big ambitions for women’s football
Isifu Wirfengla, March 15, 2021

When South Sudan became an independent state 10 years ago, its people had myriad hopes as they would be the ones to determine the form, content and destiny of their hard-won new country. Some women and girls, endowed with football skills but stuck in the cobwebs of patriarchy, looked to the future with optimism. A decade later, that route to the football glory they longed for unfolded before their very eyes as Juba Super Stars and Aweil Women FC faced each other in what became the first-ever South Sudanese women’s league match.
Read the research article here.

VUČKOVIĆ The Afro-Bolivians And Their Monarchy In Bolivia: An Enigmatic Kingdom

Bolivia is a land full of wonders and little-known facts. The majestic nature of the mountainous Andes and the adjacent tropical forests, and the illustrious capital city of La Paz, nestled high among the clouds, are not the only things to spark your curiosity. No more than a hundred kilometers outside of La Paz is the Yungas region, a transitional slit of mountainous, hard to access forests. And that is the home of the South American Afro-Bolivian communities, enigmatic descendants of African slaves that, believe it or not, have their own monarchy and a king!
Read the rest of the story here.

Why the h-index is a bogus measure of academic impact
July 8, 2020. Updated July 10, 2020

Earlier this year, French physician and microbiologist Didier Raoult generated a media uproar over his controversial promotion of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The researcher has long pointed to his growing list of publications and high number of citations as an indication of his contribution to science, all summarized in his “h-index.” The controversy over his recent research presents an opportunity to examine the weaknesses of the h-index, a metric that aims to quantify a researcher’s productivity and impact, used by many organizations to evaluate researchers for promotions or research project funding.
Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

Sénégal Post-covid-19 : Souveraineté et Ruptures
[السنغال فيما بعد جائحة كورونا: فرص وتحديات]
Authors : Abdourahmane Ndiaye, Cheikh Guèye and Cheikh Oumar Ba

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the failures of the political and economic systems in Senegal. While the country is relatively spared from a health crisis, it found itself in economic and food difficulties linked to debacle in the value chains. This highlights the fragility of our small open economy model adopted since the 1960s. However, crises not only represent chaos, but they also offer opportunities for a forward-looking debate on new challenges, horizons, and collective ambitions of a nation. The authors of this book did not content themselves with only highlighting a diagnosis, they went further by proposing possible solutions.
Publisher: Harmattan Sénégal, 2021

Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies
[مراسلات عبر المحيط: إفادات حول الدراسات الافريقية في اليابان]
Author/ (editors): Yuichiro Onishi and Fumiko Sakashita

Since 1954, Japan has become home to a vibrant but little-known tradition of Black Studies. Transpacific Correspondence introduces this intellectual tradition to English-speaking audiences, placing it in the context of a long history of Afro-Asian solidarity and affirming its commitments to transnational inquiry and cosmopolitan exchange. More than six decades in the making, Japan’s Black Studies continues to shake up commonly held knowledge of Black history, culture, and literature and build a truly globalized field of Black Studies.
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019.

Refractions of the National, The Popular and the Global in African Cities
[انكسارات بنيوية في المدن الأفريقية]
Author/ (editors): by Simon Bekker, Sylvia Croese, Edgar Pieterse

Case studies of metropolitan cities in nine African countries – from Egypt in the north to three in West and Central Africa, two in East Africa and three in Southern Africa – make up the empirical foundation of this publication. The interrelated themes addressed in these chapters – the national influence on urban development, the popular dynamics that shape urban development and the global currents on urban development – make up its framework. All authors and editors are African, as is the publisher. The only exception is Göran Therborn whose recent book, Cities of Power, served as motivation for this volume. Accordingly, the issue common to all case studies is the often-conflictual powers that are exercised by national, global and popular forces in the development of these African cities.
Publisher: African Minds Publishers, South Africa, 2021.

Health in a Fragile State: Science, Sorcery, and Spirit in the Lower Congo [أوضاع الصحة في الدولة الهشة: دراسة عن العلم والشعوذة والروحانيات في الكونغو السفلى ]
Author: John M. Janzen

This book offers a granular and insightful view of the state of healthcare services in the Manianga region of the Lower. The collapse of the Congolese state during the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the deterioration and virtual disappearance of state-sponsored healthcare institutions. This vacuum came to be filled by organisms such as the World Health Organization, other NGOs and health-based institutions organized under the new framework of the health zone. As a result, a precarious healthcare system emerged, one that combines the ingenuity and resources of the local population with those from external sources. Janzen uses this examination to remind us that positive health outcomes are not merely a factor of adequate knowledge and resources, but also require that those in charge of creating and implementing health policies are seen as legitimate within their communities. To support this argument, he starts by describing the population history of the region in relation to policies of the colonial and postcolonial era, and the ways in which specific diseases affected the lives peoples in the region.
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.

Bushmen, Botany and Baking Bread: Mary Pocock’s record of a journey with Dorothea Bleek across Angola in 1925.
[عن حياة البوشمان: مدونات ماري بوكوك في معية دوروثيا بليك عبر أنغولا في عام 1925]
Author: (Editors): Tony Dold, Jean Kelly:

This book presents the record of a remarkable overland journey documented by the botanist Mary Agard Pocock and illustrated, in colour, with her photographs, sketches and paintings of southern Angola, its people and its plants. The purpose of the six-month-long expedition, by boat, on foot and by machila, was primarily for the renowned ethnologist Dorothea Bleek to collect ethnographic information of the last remaining Bushmen of the region. Besides her role as aide-de-camp, Mary Pocock’s intention was to study the flora. She collected almost 1000 plant specimens from this virtually unexplored region, several of which proved to be new to science. A talented artist and photographer, Pocock also described, painted and photographed Bushmen in their villages. These are unique and rare representations of daily activities such as spinning cotton, preparing food, forging metal, playing musical instruments and dancing. Her meticulous daily travel account, glass plate slides, negatives, sketches and paintings have now been rescued from oblivion and collated, edited and presented here for the first time.
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, 2021.

Fighting and Writing: The Rhodesian Army at War and Postwar
[معا في القتال والكتابة: الجيش الروديسي أثناء الحرب وبعدها]
Author: Luise White

In Fighting and Writing Luise White brings the force of her historical insight to bear on the many war memoirs published by white soldiers who fought for Rhodesia during the 1964–1979 Zimbabwean liberation struggle. In the memoirs of white soldiers fighting to defend white minority rule in Africa long after other countries were independent, White finds a robust and contentious conversation about race, difference, and the war itself. These are writings by men who were ambivalent conscripts, generally aware of the futility of their fight—not brutal pawns flawlessly executing the orders and parroting the rhetoric of a racist regime. Moreover, most of these men insisted that the most important aspects of fighting a guerrilla war—tracking and hunting, knowledge of the land and of the ways of African society—were learned from black playmates in idealized rural childhoods. In these memoirs, African guerrillas never lost their association with the wild, even as white soldiers boasted of bringing Africans into the intimate spaces of regiment and regime..
Publisher: Duke University Pres, 2021.

The Muridiyya on the Move: Islam, Migration, and Place Making
[المريدية في ارتحال :قراءات عن الإسلام والهجرة والتموضع]
Author: Cheikh Anta Babou

The construction of collective identity among the Muridiyya abroad is a communal but contested endeavor. Differing conceptions of what should be the mission of Muridiyya institutions in the diaspora reveal disciples’ conflicting politics and challenge the notion of the order’s homogeneity. While some insist on the universal dimension of Ahmadu Bamba Mbakke’s calling and emphasize dawa (proselytizing), others prioritize preserving Muridiyya identity abroad by consolidating the linkages with the leadership in Senegal. Diasporic reimaginings of the Muridiyya abroad, in turn, inspire cultural reconfigurations at home. Drawing from a wide array of oral and archival sources in multiple languages collected in five countries, The Muridiyya on the Move reconstructs over half a century of the order’s history, focusing on mobility and cultural transformations in urban settings. In this groundbreaking work, Babou highlights the importance of the dahira (urban prayer circle) as he charts the continuities and ruptures between Muridiyya migrations. Throughout, he delineates the economic, socio-political, and other forces that powered these population movements, including colonial rule, the economic crises of the postcolonial era, and natural disasters.
Publisher: Ohio University Press, 2021
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Research Africa News: January 24th, 2021

Research Africa News: January 24th, 2021

Rethinking African Studies: Four Challenges and the Case for Comparative African Studies

By Matthias BasedauFirst Published November 17, 2020 (Research Article)

This article takes stock of the state of African Studies and argues that (1) research on Africa is strongly dominated by outside, non-African, mostly Western views; (2) there is a tendency towards undifferentiated views on “Africa,” which usually concentrate on negative aspects, overlooking progress in many areas; (3) methodologies that focus on causal identification are rarely used; and (4) the field focuses on micro-perspectives while few works examine the big picture and the longue durée. The article then argues that Comparative African Studies, which builds upon the concept of Comparative Area Studies, can address some of these challenges.

Read the research article here.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “Europe and the West must also be decolonised”

We talk with one of the leading voices of contemporary African literature about linguistic imperialism and the importance of decolonising minds and the imagination.

By Tania Adam 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

Writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has always questioned the literary tradition written in colonial languages, analysing the dynamics and the functioning off colonised societies and their relationship with the colonisers. Thiong’o defends the mother tongue as a weapon against linguistic imperialism, and recommends decolonising minds and the imagination, in Africa and Europe alike. We talk with him on the occasion of the publication in Catalan of his book La revolució vertical (Raig Verd, 2019).

Read the rest of the story here.

Performing Modernity

By Rafia Zakaria, December 11

THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES has worked long and hard at looking like the West—even better than the best. The world’s tallest building, with its glistening spire, looms over the shoreline of the gleaming city of Dubai, proof of the Emiratis’ technocratic zeal. The streets are clean; a brown or black person is always nearby to pick up any errant piece of litter. For entertainment, there are bars and clubs where liquor flows much like it does in New York or London or any place that draws the young and the affluent. Blazing lights shine from malls full of wares from around the world: perfumes that cost hundreds of dollars, couture houses that make their own statement by refusing to pin prices, cars that cost more than a small suburban home in the American Midwest.

Read the rest of the story here.

Becoming Kwame Ture

By Roape -December 15, 2020

In Guinea, doors fly open at the mere mention of Kwame Ture’s name. A senior government minister met me within a few hours’ notice. And when I arrived at Villa Syli to meet a member of Sékou Touré’s old party, the PDG (Parti démocratique de Guinée), I was unexpectedly ushered into a luxurious salon, where I was instead met by Hadja Touré, the former president’s wife. Now in her eighties, she sat on a red and gold wooden carved chair, at the centre of a discussion with three men dressed in expensive fabrics cut in traditional styles. I recognised one of the men as the brother of the Senegalese radical Omar Blondin Diop. Hadja Touré acknowledged me with a deft nod of the head, as I tried to find the most appropriate French expression for the occasion..

Read the rest of the story here.

Eager to Appropriate On the Supreme Court decisions that created “Indian Country.”

By Mahmood Mamdani, November 30, 2020

In the early period of American colonization, there was no reference to a place called Indian country. That is because every place was Indian country. Settlers in Maine rented land from Indians. In the Dutch and English colonies, settlers purchased land from Indians, either wholesale or piecemeal.

Read the rest of the story here.

Studying Religion in and from Africa

By Birgit Meyer, December 11, 2020

Featured as the continent of religion par excellence, Africa is often situated in contrast to Europe, where religion – especially Christianity – is in decline. There certainly is some truth to such a view. Over and over again, when I touched ground again in Ghana in the course of my longstanding research since the late 1980s, I have been amazed by the strong public presence of preachers and prophets, loud religious soundscapes and colorful proliferation of visual signs, including posters, stickers, advertisements, motto’s on shops and mini-buses, and so on. Gradually getting used to this situation during my stay, upon returning home in turn I would be rather surprised about the relative invisibility of religion over here.

Read the rest of the story here.

‘Africapitalism’ and the limits of any variant of capitalism

By Roape, July 16, 2020

In a contribution to ROAPE’s debate on capitalism in Africa, Stefan Ouma provides a critical account of Africapitalism as well as an assessment of the future/s it imagines, what it silences and its potential to transform African economies. Ouma concludes that the ecologically destructive and dehumanizing architecture of our global economic system provides further evidence to condemn any variant of capitalism.

Read the rest of the story here.

NEW BOOKS ‫كتب جديدة

The Social and Political Thought of Archie Mafeje: A Pan-African Social Scientist Ahead of His Time.

[الفكر الاجتماعي والسياسي لدى أرتشي مافيجي: العالم الاجتماعي البانأفرقاني الذي جاء قبل عصره.]

Author: Bongani Nyoka

Social scientist Archie Mafeje, who was born in the Eastern Cape but lived most of his scholarly life in exile, was one of Africa’s most prominent intellectuals. This groundbreaking book is the first to consider the entire body of Mafeje’s oeuvre and offers much needed engagement with his ideas. The most inclusive and critical treatment to date of Mafeje as a thinker and researcher, it does not aim to be a biography, but rather offers an analysis of his overall scholarship and his role as a theoretician of liberation and revolution in Africa. Bongani Nyoka argues that Mafeje’s superb scholarship developed out of both his experience as an oppressed black person and his early political education. These, merged with his university training, turned him into a formidable cutting-edge intellectual force. Nyoka begins with an evaluation of Mafeje’s critique of the social sciences; his focus then shifts to Mafeje’s work on land and agrarian issues in sub-Saharan Africa, before finally dealing with his work on revolutionary theory and politics. By bringing Mafeje’s work to the fore, Nyoka engages in an act of knowledge decolonisation, thus making a unique contribution to South studies in sociology, history and politics.

Publisher: Wits University Press, 2020.

Sea Level: A Portrait of Zanzibar

[مناظر حول البحر: صورة من زنجبار]

Author: Sarah Markes

Sea Level is a creative celebration of Zanzibar’s rich and fascinating heritage as seen today. Captured in drawings by artist and designer Sarah Markes, this is a unique and personal portrait of Stone Town’s colourful streets, and a portrayal of the island’s natural beauty and culture. It is also a plea for recognition of the threats posed to Zanzibar’s heritage and the inestimable value of conserving it.

Publisher: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania, 2020.

Decolonization and Afro-Feminism

[قراءات حول التحرر من الاستعمار وفكرة النسوية الافريقية]

Author: Sylvia Tamale

Why do so many Africans believe they cannot break the “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” cycle? Six decades after colonial flags were lowered and African countries gained formal independence, the continent struggles to free itself from the deep legacies of colonialism, imperialism and patriarchy. Many intellectuals, politicians, feminists and other activists, eager to contribute to Africa’s liberation, have frustratingly felt like they took the wrong path. Analyzed through the eyes of Afro-Feminism, this book revisits some of the fundamental preconditions needed for radical transformation. It challenges the traditional human rights paradigm and its concomitant idea of “gender equality,” flagging instead, the African philosophy of Ubuntu as a serious alternative for reinvigorating African notions of social justice. If you are a student of Africa or in a space where you wish to recalibrate your compass and reboot your consciousness in the struggle for Africa’s liberation, this book is for you.

Publisher: Daraja Press, Canada, 2020.

Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune: The Abacha and Obasanjo Years

[جنود نيجيريا الأثرياء: سنوات أباتشا وأوباسانجو]

Author: Max Siollun.

In the cataclysmic decade that is the focus of this book, Nigeria was subject to several near-death experiences. These began when the country nearly tore itself apart after the northern-led military government annulled the results of a 1993 presidential election won by the southerner Moshood Abiola, and ended with former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo being the unlikely conduit of democracy. This mini-history of a nation’s life also reflects on three mesmerizing protagonists who personified that era. First up is Abiola: the multi-billionaire businessman who had his election victory voided by the generals who made him rich, and who was later assassinated. General Sani Abacha was the mysterious, reclusive ruler under whose watch Abiola was arrested and pro-democracy activists (including Abiola’s wife) were murdered. He also oversaw a terrifying Orwellian state security operation. Although Abacha is today reviled as a tyrant, the author eschews selective amnesia, reminding Nigerians that they goaded him into seizing power. The third protagonist is Obasanjo, who emerged from prison to return to power as an elected civilian leader.

Publisher: Hurst, 2019.

Village Gone Viral: Understanding the Spread of Policy Models in a Digital Age

[حين تصبح القرية حديث الانترنت: انتشار أنماط السياسات العامة في العصر الرقمي]

Author: Marit Tolo Østebø

In 2001, Ethiopian Television aired a documentary about a small, rural village called Awra Amba, where women ploughed, men worked in the kitchen, and so-called harmful traditional practices did not exist. The documentary radically challenged prevailing images of Ethiopia as a gender-conservative and aid-dependent place, and Awra Amba became a symbol of gender equality and sustainable development in Ethiopia and beyond. Village Gone Viral uses the example of Awra Amba to consider the widespread circulation and use of modeling practices in an increasingly transnational and digital policy world. With a particular focus on traveling models—policy models that become “viral” through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organizations to the Internet—Marit Tolo Østebø critically examines the hidden dimensions of models and model making. While a policy model may be presented as a “best practice,” one that can be scaled up and successfully applied to other places, the local impacts of the model paradigm are far more ambivalent—potentially increasing social inequalities, reinforcing social stratification, and concealing injustice. With this book, Østebø ultimately calls for a reflexive critical anthropology of the production, circulation, and use of models as instruments for social change.

Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2021.

The Implicated Subject Beyond Victims and Perpetrators

[الرعايا المتورطون: حوارمابعد محوري الضحايا والجناة]

Author: Michael Rothberg

When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg’s influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world.

Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2019.

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Research Africa ( welcomes submissions of books, events, funding opportunities, and more to be included in the next edition.