Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa

Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa

Nation and African Modernity

Kwaku Larbi Korang


University of Rochester Press



This book makes Africa the centerpiece of an intercultural investigation of modern colonial power and its resistance, focusing on the writings of Ghanaian intellectuals.
Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa changes dominant ideas about Africa's relations with modernity and the global history of nationalism by recovering, and bringing fresh interpretations to, a modern genealogy of African nationalist theory. This is done by examining the writing of intellectuals from preindependence Ghana from the latter half of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth, writers who operated self-consciously in a Pan-African ideological framework. By confronting the concept of "the African Nation" under the colonial order, the book argues, these writer-intellectuals were also confronting modernity in ways that would be important to the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa is affiliated with recent revisionary works that have demonstrated the conceptual and existential validity of "alternative modernities." This book proposes in this regard to shift our understanding of the modern from a securely and exclusively Western mode of being to the modern as relational and inclusively intercultural. It mobilizes this relational and intercultural conception to locate and outline "African modernity."
Additionally,Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa demonstrates why and how projections of, and debates about, "African modernity" have been more than a continental affair. This book locates African modernity at the core of the activist intellection of the internationalist and black Atlantic nationalism of Pan-Africanism. Hence it comprehensively relates the thought of African Americans (Martin Delany, Alexander Crummell, W. E. B. Du Bois, Richard Wright), and West Indians (George Padmore, C.L.R. James), to that of seminal anglophone West African thinkers like E. W. Blyden, Africanus Horton, J. E. Casely Hayford, and Kwame Nkrumah.

Kwaku Larbi Korang is Associate Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Ohio State University.


424 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
Hardback, 9781580461467, January 2004
Paperback, 9781580463164, January 2009
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS001000, POL045000, SOC002010
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Table of Contents

Here, There and Everywhere: Modernity in Question
Impossible Necessities: Reading an African Formation in Contradiction
Imperial Exchanges, Postimperial Reconfigurations: Africa in the Modern, the Modern in Africa
Worlding Nativity: Early Gold Coast Culturalist Imperatives and Nationalist Initiatives
On the Road to Ghana: Negotiations, Paradoxes, Pratfalls
Faust in Africa: Genealogy of a "Messenger Class"
Black Orpheus; or the (Modernist) Return of the Native
Prometheus Unbound: Nkrumah's Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah
Ethical Transnationalism, Postcolonialism, the Black Atlantic: Writing Ghana, Imagining Africa vis-a-vis the Contemporary Revisionisms


Writing Ghana is an elegantly written and meticulously researched history of intellectual self-assertion in colonial West Africa . . . This book is an impressive and major addition to existing research on elite culture in nineteenth-century West Africa. It has relevance for scholars of colonial and also postcolonial African literatures, for Korang produces a fresh view of modernity and nationalism. RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURES, Spring 2006

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