Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

African Connections: Archeological Perspectives on Africa and the Wider World

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

African Connections: Archeological Perspectives on Africa and the Wider World

Article excerpt

African Connections: Archeological Perspectives on Africa and the Wider World. By Peter Mitchell. Lanham, Maryland: Altamira Press, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield, 2005. Pp. xxiv, 309; illustrations, index. $80.00 cloth, $34.95 paper.

Those of us who teach the first half of a survey of African history struggle to find a text that is both accessible to students in its approach and organized around a coherent theme. My own choice for a recurrent theme in the course "Reconstructing the African Past" has been Africa's and Africans' participation in wider systems of cultural, material, and intellectual exchange. That theme allowed me to introduce key ideas about environmental, religious, and economic history that pointed to a coherence of Africa's historical experience. With an emphasis on Africa's long-standing interactions with world and regional networks, the colonial period appears as an episode more than a watershed.

With that approach in mind, I was quite delighted to come across Peter MitchelFs African Connections as a potential text. The themes in African Connections bear a remarkable resemblance to those divisions in my course syllabus, including: African farming systems, The Nile and Red Sea Corridors, Africa and the Indian Ocean World System, Africa's Other Sea: The Sahara and Its Shores, Africa's Opening to the Atlantic, and Out of Africa: The Archaeology of the African Diaspora. …

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