Academic journal article African Studies Review

From the Editors

Academic journal article African Studies Review

From the Editors

Article excerpt

This issue of the African Studies Review is the product of a long process of international interaction and discussion among Africanist scholars. As Mamadou Diouf suggests in his excellent comprehensive article, the subject of African youth, long ignored in the scholarly literature, has become a preoccupation of politicians, social and health workers, and for African communities, albeit for different reasons. Youth as an analytic category of analysis has also come to the forefront of discourse among Africanist scholars of various and often diverse disciplines, so much so that the theme of the 2003 annual meeting of the African Studies Association is centered on it. Yet until very recently, young people and youth in Africa have been the "elephant in the room" to all but a handful of prescient, forward-thinking African scholars like Diouf. Even as Africa's children grew in numbers to constitute substantially more than half the continent's population, as an analytic focus and object of intellectual inquiry or discourse, people under twenty-five have been largely ignored. The dominant themes addressed over the past quarter century-the deepening economic and financial crises, the ruptures occurring in efforts at democratization and political disjunction with the inability of African states to solve the national problem, and the shifting alliances that have attended the end of the cold warhave been largely discussed under the rubric of "the State."

Overwhelmingly, Africanist analysis has focused on all the various historical contingencies that have created a global world in which Africa is virtually ignored. At the same time, African daily life grows more difficult and contested, and African youth have come, numerically at least, to dominate the landscape. They can no longer be ignored. …

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