Nationalism and African Intellectuals

Nationalism and African Intellectuals

Toyin Falola


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An examination of the attempt by Western-educated African intellectuals to create a 'better Africa' through connecting nationalism to knowledge, from the anti-colonial movement to the present-day.
This book is about how African intellectuals, influenced primarily by nationalism, have addressed the inter-related issues of power, identity politics, self-assertion and autonomy for themselves and their continent, from the mid-nineteenth century onward. Their major goal was to create a 'better Africa' by connecting nationalism to knowledge. The results have been mixed, from the glorious euphoria of the success of anti-colonial movements to the depressing circumstances of the African condition as we enter a new millennium.
As the intellectual elite is a creation of the Western formal school system, the ideas it generated are also connected to the larger world of scholarship. This world is, in turn, shaped by European contacts with Africa from the fifteenth century onward, the politics of the Cold War, and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. In essence, Africa and its elite cannot be fully understood without also considering the West and changing global politics. Neither can the academic and media contributions by non-Africans be ignored, as these also affect the ways that Africans think about themselves and their continent.
Nationalism and African Intellectuals examines intellectuals' ambivalent relationships with the colonial apparatus and subsequent nation-state formations; the contradictions manifested within pan-Africanism and nationalism; and the relation of academic institutions and intellectual production to the state during the nationalism period and beyond.

Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Keywords: African Studies

Table of Contents

Modern Intellectuals: Values and Visions
"The National Sentiment": Ideologues of Cultural Nationalism
"Seek Ye the Political Kingdom": Nationalism and Nation Building
From Repatriation to Reparations: Old and New Pan-Africanism
"Things Fall Apart": The Rise and Decline of the African Academy
"African Glories": Nationalist Historiography
Intellectuals and Africa in a Changing World Order


[This book] clearly rests on extensive and carefully evaluated evidence and intellectual experience. CHOICE

One of Africa's most prolific historians offers here reflections on modern African intellectual life to inform contemporary debates. INTL JNL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES

Nationalism and African Intellectuals. . . is an extremely well-written and judicious exploration of the common issues that still inevitably bind African intellectuals together, even in the midst of the adversities that have overwhelmed many centres of learning within Africa. THE ROUND TABLE [2002], 363 [91-104]

This volume will find a ready place alongside the more nuanced studies concerned with Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and the African Diaspora. AFRICAN HISTORY, Vol 44-2003

An impressive book from an impressive historian. AFRICAN AFFAIRS

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