African Articulations

Welcome to the African Articulations series from James Currey!

Forget disciplinary policing! The African Articulations monograph series fosters fresh and provocative debate on Africa’s cultural locations, networks and histories, from the ground up. Each book is different in method and approach; all are elegant, edgy, engaging and classroom-friendly. We refuse to privilege the internationally visible above the supposedly ephemeral local cultural spaces. Our covers are beautifully crafted, our content – unmissable.

Find more information on the series homepage.

African Literature in the Digital Age

Class and Sexual Politics in New Writing from Nigeria and Kenya

Shola Adenekan

Forthcoming March 2021
In an age where cultural currency depends on the digital sphere, Shola Adenekan shows that what is produced and published in cyberspace signposts us to new and old power structures, within local and global contexts. Drawing on robust analysis of literary networks, the author demonstrates how class and sexuality intersect within these sites. He looks at both the spectacular and the quotidian aspects of new writings from Nigeria and Kenya: how writers use the digital space to produce literature that comments on big socio-political developments, and how readers in turn build meanings out of their everyday engagements with these works. The difference in attitude across generations that this book discusses, as well as the tension and perhaps disjunction, speak to the complexity of Africa and its many stories.

Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution

Anti-Colonialism, Independence and Internationalism in Filmmaking, 1968-1991

Ros Gray

In one of the first cultural acts after independence in 1975, Frelimo’s new socialist government of Mozambique set up a National Institute of Cinema (the INC). In a country with little previous experience of cinema, the INC was tasked to “deliver to the people an image of the people”. A unique culture of revolutionary cinema emerged, building on films made during the armed struggle. The INC began the task of decolonising the film industry, drawing on networks of solidarity with other socialist struggles. Mozambique became an epicentre for militant filmmakers from around the world, and cinema played a crucial role in constructing the new nation and resisting Apartheid. Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution provides a compelling account of this radical experiment in harnessing cinema to social change.

At the Crossroads

Nigerian Travel Writing and Literary Culture in Yoruba and English

Rebecca Jones

Shortlisted for the ASAUK Fage & Oliver Prize 2020
Since the early twentieth century, Nigerians have been writing about their travels using a range of genres and media – from serialised newspaper travelogues to personal diaries, autobiographies and internet narratives. This cultural history of Nigerian travel writing in Yoruba and English focuses on travel writing about Nigeria published in the Yoruba-speaking region of south western Nigeria, home to a well-established and prolific writing and print culture in both Yoruba and English. The author examines the production of Nigerian travel narratives about Nigeria, and argues that we can read these texts both as the products of a local Nigerian print culture, and through their articulations with global travel writing traditions. This is the first book to examine the rich and varied history of the Nigerian literature of travel.

Written Under the Skin

Blood and Intergenerational Memory in South Africa

Carli Coetzee

Forgiveness and reconciliation have provided dominant ways of understanding South African literature and art, as have notions of emergence and the ‘born-free’ status of those born after the dramatic changes of the political transition. In this book the author argues that a younger generation of South Africans is developing innovative ways of thinking about South Africa’s past that challenge the dominance of skin, and that instead acknowledge intergenerational transfer and continuity, rather than insist that everything has changed. The chapters each concern blood in some form, dealing with Mandela’s prison cell as laboratory for creating bloodless freedom; the kinship relations created and resisted in accounts of mass murder Eugene de Kock; Ruth First’s prison accounts; the first human-to-human heart transplant and racialised medicine; the artists and activists of the #Fallist moment, and Abantu book festival.

Experiments with Truth

Narrative Non-fiction and the Coming of Democracy in South Africa

Hedley Twidle

Over the last decades, South Africa has seen an outpouring of life-writing and narrative non-fiction. Authors like Panashe Chigumadzi, Jacob Dlamini, Mark Gevisser, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Antjie Krog, Sisonke Msimang, Njabulo Ndebele, Jonny Steinberg and Ivan Vladislavic; have produced a compelling and often controversial body of work, exploring the country’s ongoing political and social transition with great ambition, texture and risk. Experiments with Truth is the first book-length account of the new non-fiction in South Africa. It traces the strange and ethically complex process by which real people, places and events are shuffled, patterned and plotted in long-form prose narrative. It is increasingly drawn to a post-TRC aesthetic: to non-fictional works that engage with difficult, inappropriate or unusable pasts – and with the unfinished project of social justice and reconstruction in South Africa. In doing so, it places southern African materials in a context, and in dialogue with other important non-fictional traditions that have emerged at moments of social rupture and transition.

Writing Spatiality in West Africa

Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone Novel

Madhu Krishnan

Winner of the 2020 ALA Book of the Year Award – Scholarship
Madhu Krishnan examines some key texts in Anglophone and Francophone West African fiction through the innovative angle of the colonial legacies of space and how these were manifested differently under French and British systems. She argues that such divisions of geographical and ideological space continue and are still a source of conflict, from separatist struggles to the conflict over uneven distribution of resources, to the annexation of African territories and the particular trading relationships of global capitalism. Drawing out the relationships between spatial planning (such as colonial powers’ enforcing of borders through cities as well as through larger territories) and the literary expression which emerged from these contexts in the postcolonial age, Krishnan generates novel readings of canonical West African texts as well as analyses of material from Francophone sources which have been under-researched.

Achebe and Friends at Umuahia

The Making of a Literary Elite

Terri Ochiagha

Winner of the ASAUK Fage & Oliver Prize 2016
The first in-depth scholarly study of the literary awakening in the 1940s and ’50s of Nigeria’s “first-generation” writers Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Chike Momah, Christopher Okigbo and Chukwuemeka Ike in the context of their education at Government College, Umuahia, an elite colonial boarding school. The author provides fresh perspectives on Postcolonial and World literary processes, colonial education in British Africa, literary representations of colonialism, Chinua Achebe’s seminal position as a writer and the implications of this very particular education for African literature as a whole.

Scoring Race

Jazz, Fiction, and Francophone Africa

Pim Higginson

Pim Higginson draws on race theory, aesthetics, cultural studies, musicology, and postcolonial studies to examine how jazz became in France what the author calls a ‘racial score:’ simultaneously an archive and script that has hadfar-reaching effects on the French avant-garde and on 20th and 21st century Francophone African writers and filmmakers for whom the idea of their own essential musicality represents an epistemological conundrum. Despite this obstacle, because of jazz’s profound importance to diaspora aesthetics, as well as its crucial role in the French imaginary, many African writers have chosen to make it a structuring principle of their literary projects. How and why, Pim Higginson asks, do these writers and filmmakers approach jazz despite its participation in and formalization of a particularly problematic kind of difference? To what extent do they reproduce the terms of their own systematic expulsion into music and to what extent, in their quest for writing (or film-making), do they arrive at tactically efficacious means of working through, around, or beyond the strictures of the racial score?

A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour

Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder

Grace A. Musila

A British tourist and wildlife photographer went missing in Kenya in 1988 and was later found to have been murdered. Her death and the protracted search for her killers, still at large, was hotly contested in the media. Many theories emerged as to how and why she died, generating three trials, several “true crime” books, and much speculation and rumour. Musila’s study asks the following questions: why would Julie Ann Ward’s death be the subject of such strong and multiple contestations? And what does this reveal about cultural productions of truth and knowledge in Kenya and Britain, particularly in the light of the responses to her disappearance of the Kenyan police, the British Foreign Office, and the British High Commission in Nairobi.


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