Writing African History

Writing African History

Edited by John Edward Philips


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A comprehensive evaluation of how to read African history.
Writing African History is an essential work for anyone who wants to write, or even seriously read, African history. It will replace Daniel McCall's classic Africa in Time Perspective as the introduction to African history for the next generation and as a reference for professional historians, interested readers, and anyone who wants to understand how African history is written.
Africa in Time Perspective was written in the 1960s, when African history was a new field of research. This new book reflects the development of African history since then. It opens with a comprehensive introduction by Daniel McCall, followed by a chapter by the editor explaining what African history is [and is not] in the context of historical theory and the development of historical narrative, the humanities, and social sciences. The first half of the book focuses on sources of historical data while the second half examines different perspectives on history. The editor's final chapter explains how to combine various sorts of evidence into a coherent account of African history. Writing African History will become the most important guide to African history for the 21st century.

Contributors: Bala Achi, Isaac Olawale Albert, Diedre L. Badéjo, Dorothea Bedigian, Barbara M. Cooper, Henry John Drewal, Christopher Ehret, Toyin Falola, David Henige, Joseph E. Holloway, John Hunwick, S. O. Y. Keita, William G. Martin, Daniel McCall, Susan Keech McIntosh, Donatien Dibwe Dia Mwembu, Kathleen Sheldon, John Thornton, and Masao Yoshida.

John Edwards Philips is Professor of International Society, Hirosaki University, and author of Spurious Arabic: Hausa and Colonial Nigeria [Madison, University of Wisconsin African Studies Center, 2000].

An e-book version of this title is available (9781580466387), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

What is African History? - John Edward Philips
Archaeology and the Reconstruction of the African Past - Susan Keech McIntosh
Writing African History from Linguistic Evidence - Christopher Ehret
Physical Anthropology and African History - Shomarka Keita MD
The Importance of Botanical Data to Historical Research on Africa - Dorothea Bedigian
Oral Tradition as a Means of Reconstructing the Past - David Henige
Oral Sources and the Challenge of African History - Barbara Cooper
Arabic Sources for African History - John O. Hunwick
European Documents and African History - John K. Thornton
Mission and Colonial Documents - Toyin Falola
Data Collection and Interpretation in the Social History of Africa - Isaac Olawale Albert
African Economic History: Approaches to Research - Masao Yoshida
Signs of Time, Shapes of Thought: The Contributions of Art History and Visual Culture to Historical Methods in Africa - Henry John Drewal
Methodologies in Yoruba Oral Historiography and Aesthetics - Deidre L. Badejo Ph.D.
Local History in Post-Independent Africa - Bala Achi
Africa and World-Systems Analysis: A Post Nationalist Project? - William G. Martin
What Africa Has Given America: African Continuities in the North American Diaspora - Joseph E. Holloway
History and Memory - Donatien DIBWE dia Mwembu
Writing About Women: Approaches to a Gendered Perspective in African History - Kathleen Sheldon
Writing African History - John Edward Philips


Winner, CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2006

A serious, balanced, and useful work that ought to become basic for outsiders new to the field as well as for specialized Africanists. --Joseph C. Miller, T. Cary Johnson, Jr. Professor of History, University of Virginia

African history has clearly come of age with this monumental, comprehensive guide. --Merrick Posnansky, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA

This is essential reading for anyone interested in African history, and should be the first book read by anyone who does not know anything about African history. --Paul E. Lovejoy, FRSC, Distinguished Research Professor, Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History

An excellent guide for introducing the field to beginning graduate students and even upper division undergraduates. --Edward Alpers, Professor of History, UCLA

The essays to this book are well written, well thought-out, and very effective in describing the sources and methods used by historians of Africa. H-NET REVIEWS, 2006

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