The Spatial Factor in African History

The Relationship of the Social, Material, and Perceptual

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The authors of this inter-disciplinary collection examine the role of space in six areas of West, Central and East Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They demonstrate the active quality of space and analyze the ways in which people have contested and shaped space, including responses to crises. In addition, a lengthy essay re-interprets tropical African history, 1800-1930, using spatial theory. Contributors look at how people have constructed mental maps, used discourse to organize territories, and perceived social landscapes. The studies employ a tri-level approach, one that moves from specific places to regions to macro-regional or transnational systems and back again. Authors draw upon written and oral sources to reconstruct the past and employ innovative mapping techniques to illustrate spatial dynamics.

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Allen M. Howard, Ph.D. (1974) African History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University. He has published extensively on cities, ethnicity, trade, and spatial analysis in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Africa generally. Richard M. Shain is Associate Professor of History at Philadelphia University. He also taught at the university level in Nigeria and Senegal for nearly ten years. He presently is completing a book on Latin music and modernity in contemporary Senegal.
Africanists in anthropology, history, geography and other fields, as well as scholars employing spatial analysis in other areas besides Africa. Assigned in graduate and upperlevel undergraduate courses on Africa.