Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

(re)Tracing Africa: A Multi-Displinary Study of African History, Societies, and Cultures

Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

(re)Tracing Africa: A Multi-Displinary Study of African History, Societies, and Cultures

Article excerpt

(re)Tracing Africa: a multi-displinary study of African history, societies, and cultures, [edited by Salome C. Nnoromete and Ogechi E. Anyanw]. Dubeque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2012. ix +421 pp. ISBN 978-0-7575-9496-0.

This book was allegedly produced to meet demand from students and faculty of Eastern Kentucky University for "a book that transcended the Western world's cyclical attitude of presenting Africa as a place lacking in development and trapped in its precolonial world...a book that showcased the vibrancy of the continent, its growth and developments as well as its challenges" (p. vii). 22 chapters are divided over five parts: Background to African Studies; African Societies and Social Institutions; Arts, Literature and Culture; Africa and the Wider World; Postcolonial Africa: Challenges and Prospects. It is very much a text book with 'review questions' and 'writing prompt' at the end of each chapter. It would be a much better textbook if it had invested in some good maps, an index and a proper bibliography or "suggestions for further reading", although all the chapters have endnotes.

(re)Tracing Africa starts from the conviction that "Centuries of writings on Africa produced in the Western world have been largely filled with myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions about the African continent and its people....the misrepresentations and mischaracterization of Africa have continued to dominate conversations surrounding past and current events in the region" (p. 9) and a determination to counter this situation. The sound of grinding axes becomes overwhelming. This is not a book where you will find a nuanced contextualisation of anything, nor careful periodisation nor an appreciation of the diversity of African societies. …

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