Making Headway

Making Headway

The Introduction of Western Civilization in Colonial Northern Nigeria

Andrew E. Barnes


University of Rochester Press



A thought-provoking study of local peoples' participation in the process of cultural transfer in colonial Northern Nigeria.
The process of cultural transfer in Northern Nigeria was historically thought to have been dictated by European colonial domination. In fact, Western missionaries may not have been able to guide African Christians toward mastery of the secular world when they themselves lacked the worldliness to do so. In this penetrating study, Andrew E. Barnes argues that competition among colonizing forces impelled British colonial administrators and Christian missionaries alike to offer Africans those aspects of Western civilization Africans themselves specifically wanted: schools that provided greater access to Western intellectual skills. In Making Headway: The Introduction of Western Civilization in Colonial Northern Nigeria, Barnes demonstrates effectively that Europeans were successful in transferring to local peoples the cultural values they hoped to foster only because Africans and Europeans reached consensus about the nature and character of the Western civilization to be shared. Ultimately, this study asserts, Africans had greater control over the introduction of Western civilization to the region than traditionally thought.

Andrew E. Barnes is Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University.


November 2009
8 line illustrations
346 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580462990
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS001010, SOC042000, POL045000
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Table of Contents

Some Theoretical Concerns
Indirect Rule as a Form of Cultural Transfer, 1900-35
Indirect Rule and Making Headway, 1920-35
The Cross or the Crescent, 1900-30
Christian Missions and the Evangelization of the North, 1900-35
Twin Revolutions, 1930-45
The Africanization of Western Civilization, 1930-60
The Indigenization of Modernity, 1950-65


Barnes's careful scholarship questions existing generalizations and illuminates the profound ambiguities of the missionary-colonial relationship on the religious frontier in Northern Nigeria. This book will be indispensable for historians of both indirect rule and Christian missions in the region. --Brian Stanley, Director, Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh

A well-researched contribution to the social history of northern Nigeria. Its strength is drawn from the extensive consultation and utilization of primary documents by the author. AFRICAN AFFAIRS

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