Interest in the question of Bantu expansion rose dramatically in the 1950s as historians, archeologists, and anthropologists all joined in the fray. This reflected both the rise of Africa in world affairs and the expansion of research in general. The scholars involved were typically a new breed of professionals, and as such more dependent than their predecessors on universities or research institutions. The School of Oriental and African Studies in London achieved overwhelming dominance from about 1950 until the late 1960s, so that opinions held by its staff found the widest audience. The new scholars also were, for the most part, anti-racist, sympathetic to African nationalisms, and of liberal or socialist persuasion. They tended to reject the notion of “conquest,” believing in gradual change rather than abrupt cataclysmic mutation, perhaps because they were repelled by their recent experiences during the war. As had happened earlier, these extraneous circumstances left a deep imprint on the speculations that were now proposed. Early in this period a new paradigm almost achieved consensus, but after 1968 this fell apart and during the last decade two new trends have appeared: the single-minded quest for a new paradigm and the search for better understanding through the study of analogous processes, coupled with a more radical skepticism.
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