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Rethinking Private Higher Education

Ethnographic Perspectives from the Middle East and Beyond

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Edited by Daniele Cantini

Rethinking Private Higher Education takes the university as a core institution in modern nation states, which is currently undergoing a serious revision. It offers fresh insights into the actual meaning of ‘private’ in different higher education contexts, contributing to a deeper understanding of the actual effects of global policies in local contexts through ethnographies. This book explores how private universities were established, their context and history, and their changing business models and operations.
The strengths of this book are its ethnographic detail, which shows the complexity and fast changing forms of private higher education, and its reluctance to jump to simplified labelling of public and private. It is a model for further ethnographic studies of local developments in higher education.

Contributors are: Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Daniele Cantini, Carmela Chávez Irigoyen, Enrico Ille, Sylvie Mazzella, Alexander Mitterle, Annemarie Profanter, and Susan Wright.

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Dorrit van Dalen

The seventeenth century was a period of major social change in central sudanic Africa. Islam spread from royal courts to rural communities, leading to new identities, new boundaries and new tasks for experts of the religion. Addressing these issues, the Bornu scholar Muḥammad al-Wālī acquired an exceptional reputation. Dorrit van Dalen’s study places him within his intellectual environment, and portrays him as responding to the concerns of ordinary Muslims. It shows that scholars on the geographical margins of the Muslim world participated in the debates in the centres of Muslim learning of the time, but on their own terms. Al-Wālī’s work also sheds light on a century in the Islamic history of West Africa that has until now received little attention.

A Decade of Namibia

Politics, Economy and Society – The Era Pohamba, 2004-2015

Henning Melber

Hifikepunye Pohamba has been the second Head of State since Namibia’s Independence in 1990. As successor to Sam Nujoma he held office for two terms from March 2005 to March 2015. At the end of his presidency he was awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize for good governance as the fifth statesman of the continent. This overview covers the twelve years from his election in 2004 until his retirement as documented in the chapters previously published in the Africa Yearbook. Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara, reviewing Namibia’s development during his presidency. An introductory analysis putting the Pohamba era into the context of Namibian society precedes the chronological account.

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Hilary C. Palmer and Malyn D.D. Newitt

Henry Edward O’Neill was British Consul in Mozambique from 1879 to 1889. He completed thirteen exploratory journeys in northern Mozambique, including the first exploration of the Makua and Lomwe countries between Mozambique Island and Lake Malawi. This recreation of the book, which he never published, makes available for the first time a large body of information on the peoples of northern Mozambique (a region still little researched), on the history of the slave trade in the western Indian Ocean and on the expansion of Portuguese rule and the resistance to it by powerful local communities. The Introduction includes the first ever biographical study of O’Neill and his contribution to African exploration.

Bourdieu in Africa

Exploring the Dynamics of Religious Fields

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Edited by Magnus Echtler and Asonzeh Ukah

Bourdieu in Africa: Exploring the Dynamics of Religious Fields offers a view of religions as social games played by interested actors. Analyzing practices as strategic moves, this critical approach conceptualizes the religious field as relations of exchange and competition between experts and laity, and explores how the actors’ habitus, including religious beliefs, serve to misrecognize and thus legitimize relations of power within the religious sphere and beyond.



The authors discuss the volatile religious fields of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and South Africa, with their variably configured tensions between African traditions, Christianity and Islam, but also consider the interrelations of religion with other social fields, with politics, economy, education and law.

Framing African Development

Challenging Concepts

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Edited by Kjell Havnevik, Terje Oestigaard, Eva Tobisson and Tea Virtanen

This book discusses and challenges concepts that are widely used in research and policy related to development issues in Africa. The main rationale for such an undertaking is that the concepts that are used to understand and define the world in general and Africa in particular are not merely describing social, economic and political processes and events; they are also largely framing these very same processes. Thus, the concepts by which we structure the world will implicitly or explicitly give premises for policies and practices; limiting or favouring certain types of actions and frameworks of interpretation and understanding in various contexts. It is therefore important to challenge commonly held conceptions about framing African development.


Contributors include: Deborah Fahy Bryceson, Rosalind Eyben, Amanda Hammar, Kjell Havnevik, Mats Hårsmar, Terje Oestigaard and Rune Skarstein

A Decade of Mozambique

Politics, Economy and Society 2004-2013

Joseph Hanlon

This chronology for 2004 to 2013 compiles the chapters on Mozambique previously published in the Africa Yearbook. Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara. The country has over the years remained one of the poorest, and poverty is not declining. But the discovery of huge gas fields could bring changes by the mid 2020s. During the period under review, the sheen began to fade from Mozambique's status as a donor darling, as donors increasingly objected to corruption while government was angered by donor impositions and took an increasingly autonomous line. The former liberation movement Frelimo remains the predominant party and has won all national elections, while two presidents have stepped down after two terms. The main opposition party Renamo retains an armed wing launching small military actions. A second opposition party gained control of four cities. A younger and better-educated generation that remembers neither the liberation struggle nor the 1982-92 civil war is beginning to challenge the established leadership.

African Roads to Prosperity

People en Route to Socio-Cultural and Economic Transformations

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Edited by Akinyinka Akinyoade and Jan-Bart Gewald

This book brings together in a comparative analysis the results of studies of the various cultural, social, economic and historical aspects that are formative in African societies’ experiences of how people negotiated the spaces and times of being in transit on the road to prosperity.
The book analyses the various outcomes of the process of mobility and the experience of spaces and times of transit across gender, generational, and class-differences. These experiences are explored and give insight into the socio-cultural and economics transformations that have taken place in African societies in the past century.

Contributors are:
Akinyinka Akinyoade, Walter van Beek, Marleen Dekker, Ton Dietz, Rijk van Dijk, Isaie Dougnon, Jan-Bart Gewald, Meike de Goede, Benjamin Kofi Nyarko, Samuel Ntewusu Aniegye, Taiwo Olabisi Oluwatoyin, Shehu Tijjani Yusuf, Augustine Tanle and Amisah Zenabu Bakuri.

Angola's Colossal Lie

Forced Labor on a Sugar Plantation, 1913-1977

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Jeremy Ball

Angola's Colossal Lie. Forced Labor on a Sugar Plantation, 1913-1977 is the first in-depth study of forced labor on a Portuguese-owned sugar plantation in colonial Angola. A prominent Portuguese civil servant dubbed the labor system in Angola a “colossal lie” because the reality so contradicted the law. Using extensive oral history interviews with former forced laborers, Jeremy Ball explains how Angolans experienced forced labor. Ball also interviews former Portuguese administrators to provide multiple perspectives about the transition to independence and the nationalization of the plantation.

Ethnography from the Mission Field

The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge

Annekie Joubert

In Ethnography from the Mission Field: The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge Joubert et al. offer a translated and annotated edition of the 24 ethnographic articles by missionary Carl Hoffmann and his local interlocutors published between the years 1913 and 1958. The edition is introduced by a historic contextualisation using a cultural historical approach to analyse the contexts in which Hoffmann’s ethnographic texts were produced. Making use of historical material and Hoffmann’s own words from personal diaries and letters, the authors convincingly draw the attention to the discursive context in which the texts annotated in this book had been compiled. In a concluding chapter the book traces the captivating developments of the orthography of Northern Sotho through Hoffmann’s texts over almost half a century.

Brill has made the documentary film “A Journey into the Life of a Mission-Ethnographer” which is interlinked with this book available online via its online channels. To access it please click here.

The digital database of the “Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge” (HC-CK) can be accessed by clicking here. It is an amalgamation of digital scans, images and video footage relating to missionary Carl Hoffmann’s work and life on various mission stations, made available by the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.