The Individual in African History

The Importance of Biography in African Historical Studies

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Edited by Klaas van Walraven

This volume investigates the development of biographical study in African history and historiography. Consisting of 10 case studies, it is preceded by an introductory prologue, which deals with the relationship between historiography and different forms of biographical study in the context of Western history-writing but especially African (historical and anthropological) studies. The first three case studies deal with the methodological insights of biographical studies for African history. This is followed by three case studies dealing with personas living through fundamental societal transitions, and four case studies focusing on the discursive dimensions of biographical subjects (including religion, cosmology and ideology). Countries or regions discussed include South Africa, Zambia, Gold Coast, Cameroon, Tanganyika, Congo-Kinshasa and the Central African Republic in colonial times.

Contributors are Lindie Koorts, Elena Moore, Iva Peša, Paul Glen Grant, Jacqueline de Vries, Duncan Money, Morgan Robinson, Eve Wong, Klaas van Walraven, Erik Kennes.

Negotiating Politics in the Family

Transnational Histories touched by National Socialism and Apartheid

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Barbara Henkes

This book is situated at the cutting edge of the political-ethical dimension of history writing. Henkes investigates various responsibilities and loyalties towards family and nation, as well as other major ethical obligations towards society and humanity when historical subjects have to deal with a repressive political regime. In the first section we follow three pre-war German immigrants in the Netherlands during the era of National Socialism. The second section explores the positions of three Dutch postwar emigrants who left for South Africa. The narratives of these transnational agents and their relatives provide a lens through which changing constructions of national identities, and the personal acceptance or rejection of a nationalist policy on racial grounds, can be observed in everyday practice.

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Konstanze N'Guessan

In Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire: an Ethnography of the Past Konstanze N’Guessan deals with memory work in Côte d’Ivoire and bridges an ethnographic approach with the insights of newer theoretical approaches in historiography. Adopting a long-term perspective from the late 1950s to the present, she attempts to disentangle the condensation of meanings of the lieu de memoire “Ivorian independence” and explores how different practices of recalling the past complement and/or contradict each other. Histories of independence in Côte d’Ivoire looks at national-day celebrations, academic historiography, oral tradition and memory politics in order to understand how (political) actors mobilize the past in order to produce pleasant presents and futures.

Essai d’histoire locale by Djiguiba Camara

L’œuvre d’un historien guinéen à l’époque coloniale / The Work of a Guinean Historian during the Colonial Period

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Elara Bertho and Marie Rodet

Essai d’histoire locale fut écrit par un acteur-clé de l’historiographie de l’Afrique de l’Ouest pourtant encore méconnu: Djiguiba Camara. Rédigé en 1955, ce texte est centré sur l’histoire du Nord de la Guinée, avec une attention particulière portée sur l’empire de Samori Touré et la résistance anticoloniale.
Ce texte, Essai d’histoire locale, illustre la fabrique de l’histoire locale et coloniale par un intermédiaire colonial guinéen et un intellectuel, à partir du point de vue spécifique de la famille Camara, qui fut engagée dans les armées de Samori. Ce texte n’a été connu que parce qu’il est devenu l’une des sources majeures de l’historien français Yves Person pour sa monumentale thèse Samori, Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975). Avec cette édition annotée d’une source primaire, “Essai d’histoire locale” de Djiguiba Camara devient enfin accessible à un lectorat plus vaste. Elara Bertho et Marie Rodet ont démontré grâce à cette publication que Essai d’histoire locale est une source essentielle pour la compréhension de l’histoire de la Guinée ainsi que de la fabrique de l’historiographie, en particulier du travail d’Yves Person.

Although a key figure in West African historiography, Djiguiba Camara from Damaro has remained almost completely unknown. He wrote Essay on Local History over many years but finally finished it in 1955. His focus was the history of Northern Guinea with an emphasis on the Empire of Samori Touré and anticolonial resistance.
Everywhere in Essay on Local History we can see not only the highly developed craft of the local and colonial historical writing of a Guinean colonial intermediary and scholar, but the view he gave is from the particular perspective of the Camara family, who had served in Samori’s armies. Djiguiba Camara’s own work had been known only by reputation as a source for the monumental thee-volume Samori – Une Révolution Dyula (1968-1975) by the French historian Yves Person. Now however, in this fully annotated text edition, Djiguiba Camara’s Essai d’histoire locale becomes available to a wider audience for the first time. Elara Bertho and Marie Rodet have demonstrated through this publication that Essay on Local History is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand both the history of Guinea and more especially Yves Person’s modus operandi.

Edited by Samantha Kelly

A Companion to Medieval Ethiopia and Eritrea introduces readers to current research on major topics in the history and cultures of the Ethiopian-Eritrean region from the seventh century to the mid-sixteenth, with insights into foundational late-antique developments where appropriate. Multiconfessional in scope, it includes in its purview both the Christian kingdom and the Islamic and local-religious societies that have attracted increasing attention in recent decades, tracing their internal features, interrelations, and imbrication in broader networks stretching from Egypt and Yemen to Europe and India. Utilizing diverse source types and methodologies, its fifteen essays offer an up-to-date overview of the subject for students and nonspecialists, and are rich in material for researchers.

Contributors are Alessandro Bausi, Claire Bosc-Tiessé, Antonella Brita, Amélie Chekroun, Marie-Laure Derat, Deresse Ayenachew, François-Xavier Fauvelle, Emmanuel Fritsch, Alessandro Gori, Habtemichael Kidane, Margaux Herman, Bertrand Hirsch, Samantha Kelly, Gianfrancesco Lusini, Denis Nosnitsin, and Anaïs Wion.

The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit

Historical Implications of Linguistic and Archaeological Parallels

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Mary E. Buck

In The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit Mary Buck takes a new approach to the field of Amorite studies by considering whether the site of Ugarit shares close parallels with other sites and cultures known from the Bronze Age Levant. When viewed in conjunction, the archaeological and linguistic material uncovered in this study serves to enhance our understanding of the historical complexity and diversity of the Middle Bronze Age period of international relations at the site of Ugarit.
With a deft hand, Dr. Buck pursues a nuanced view of populations in the Bronze Age Levant, with the objective of understanding the ancient polity of Ugarit as a kin-based culture that shares close ties with the Amorite populations of the Levant.

The Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant series publishes volumes from the Harvard Semitic Museum. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Harvard Semitic Studies and Harvard Semitic Monographs, https://semiticmuseum.fas.harvard.edu/publications.

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Edited by Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri

In Frantz Fanon and Emancipatory Social Theory: A View from the Wretched, Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri bring together a collection of essays by a variety of scholars who explore the lasting influence of Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist, revolutionary, and social theorist. Fanon’s work not only gave voice to the “wretched” in the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962), but also shaped the radical resistance to colonialism, empire, and racism throughout much of the world. His seminal works, such as Black Skin, White Masks, and The Wretched of the Earth, were read by The Black Panther Party in the United States, anti-imperialists in Africa and Asia, and anti-monarchist revolutionaries in the Middle East. Today, many revolutionaries and scholars have returned to Fanon’s work, as it continues to shed light on the nature of colonial domination, racism, and class oppression.

Contributors include: Syed Farid Alatas, Rose Brewer, Dustin J. Byrd, Sean Chabot, Richard Curtis, Nigel C. Gibson, Ali Harfouch, Timothy Kerswell, Seyed Javad Miri, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pramod K. Nayar, Elena Flores Ruíz, Majid Sharifi, Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib and Esmaeil Zeiny.

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Angus E. Dalrymple-Smith

Commercial Transitions and Abolition in West Africa 1630–1860 offers a fresh perspective on why, in the nineteenth century, the most important West African states and merchants who traded with Atlantic markets became exporters of commodities, instead of exporters of slaves. This study takes a long-term comparative approach and makes of use of new quantitative data.

It argues that the timing and nature of the change from slave exports to so-called ‘legitimate commerce’ in the Gold Coast, the Bight of Biafra and the Bight of Benin, can be predicted by patterns of trade established in previous centuries by a range of African and European actors responding to the changing political and economic environments of the Atlantic world.