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On the fiftieth anniversary of an ambiguous event – the referendum giving French Africans the choice of immediate independence or a new status within a ‘French Community’ – this article points to the alternative forms of political action which opened up at certain moments in African history and how, at other moments, some of those alternatives closed down. It assesses concepts, issues and arguments used in writing the history of Africa, now that the recent African past – spanning the last years of colonial rule and the years of independence – is becoming a focus of historical inquiry.

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1 La condition humaine, 29 Aug. 1955.

2 Elizabeth Schmidt, Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946–1958 (Athens OH, 2007), esp. ch. 6.

3 Paul Nugent, Africa since Independence (Houndmills, 2004), 166–7.

4 Terence Ranger recounts the perils for the historian of the nationalist narrative in ‘Nationalist historiography, patriotic history and the history of the nation: the struggle over the past in Zimbabwe’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 30 (2004), 215–34.

5 Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War (New York, 1999).

6 Nicholas van de Walle, African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979–1999 (Cambridge, 2001), 217.

7 Crawford Young, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (New Haven, 1994), 225.

8 Jeffrey Herbst summarizes studies on the colonial era in concluding ‘how unimpressive the colonial extension of power was throughout Africa in the twentieth century’. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control (Princeton, 2000), 85. For examples of scholarship on colonial situations, see Frederick Cooper and Ann Stoler (eds.), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Societies in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, 1997).

9 Young, The African Colonial State, 283. For a short alternative narrative, see Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present (Cambridge, 2002), and for a more detailed investigation of the responses of colonial regimes to African social protest, followed by their shrinking back before the costs of developmental colonialism and continued social agitation, see Cooper, Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa (Cambridge, 1996).

10 For a more nuanced view of the role of African intermediaries in shaping colonial rule – and later in its transmutations – see Benjamin Lawrance, Emily Osborn and Richard Roberts (eds.), Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Colonial Africa (Madison WI, 2006).

11 Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton, 1996). On ‘leapfrogging legacies’ and other forms of ahistorical reasoning used to make a historical argument, see Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (Berkeley, 2005), 17–8.

12 For examples of connections of rural political life to national politics, see Steven Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals: Anthropology and History in Tanzania (Madison WI, 1990), and Elizabeth Schmidt, Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939–1958 (Portsmouth NH, 2005).

13 Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Berkeley, 2001), 42 quoted. For imagery of grossness and decay in African fiction, see Ayi Kwa Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (Boston, 1968). Critiques of Mbembe's basic argument may be found in Public Culture, 5 (1992).

14 Political science in the 1960s and 1970s has received justified criticism for looking at Africa through the lens of modernization theory – reinforcing the interest of both African and western elites in seeing Africa follow a route supposedly taken earlier by western states. Yet the empirical studies of the time helped to discredit modernization theory. See, for example, James S. Coleman, Nigeria: Background to Nationalism (Berkeley, 1958); Aristide Zolberg, One Party Government in the Ivory Coast (Princeton, 1964); C. S. Whitaker, The Politics of Tradition: Continuity and Change in Northern Nigeria, 1946–1966 (Princeton, 1970).

15 David Anderson, Histories of the Hanged: Britain's Dirty War and the End of Empire (New York, 2006); Raphaëlle Branche, La torture et l'armée pendant la guerre d'Algérie 1954–1962 (Paris, 2001); Todd Shepard, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (Ithaca NY, 2006); Cooper, Decolonization and African Society.

16 Kwame Nkrumah, The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah (London, 1973), 47–54.

17 Penny von Eschen, Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957 (Ithaca NY, 1997).

18 Jean Marie Allman, The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana (Madison WI, 1993); Carola Lentz, Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana (Edinburgh, 2006). For the ‘horizontal’ version of nationalism, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1983).

19 Robert Lemaignen, Léopold Sédar Senghor and Prince Sisonath Youtévong, La communauté impériale française (Paris, 1945).

20 These passages are based on my ongoing research. For a preliminary version, see Frederick Cooper, ‘From imperial inclusion to Republican exclusion? France's ambiguous post-war trajectory’, in Charles Tshimanga-Kashama, Didier Gondola and Peter Bloom (eds.), Frenchness and the African Diaspora (Bloomington IN, forthcoming).

21 Discours d'ouverture du President Mamadou Dia au premier seminaire national d'études pour les responsables politiques, parlementaires, gouvernementaux, 26 Oct. 1959, ‘sur la construction nationale’, VP 93, Archives du Sénégal.

22 Looking at the same story from French Equatorial Africa gives a rather different picture. The depth of civic life in those territories, often treated as a chasse-gardée by French corporations and the government, did not give politicians the same social basis for organization and claim-making that they had in parts of French West Africa, such as Senegal or the Côte d'Ivoire. As Florence Bernault has shown, the institutions of postwar governance themselves called into being forms of political association, rather than civic life providing a basis for entry into politics. The first generation of leaders, coming out of mission schools and the civil service, had less to bring to office than office had to bring to them, creating a brittle political structure. Démocraties ambiguës en Afrique Centrale: Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon: 1940–1965 (Paris, 1996).

23 François-Xavier Verschave, La françafrique: le plus long scandale de la République (Paris, 1998); Keese Alexander, ‘First lessons in neo-colonialism: the personalisation of relations between African politicians and French officials in sub-Saharan Africa, 1956–66’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 35 (2007), 593613.

24 Kathleen Paul, Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizenship in the Postwar Era (Ithaca NY, 1997).

25 For an early study of the general problem, see Rothchild Donald, ‘The limits of federalism: an examination of institutional transfer in Africa’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 4 (1966), 275–93.

26 Siba Grovogui, ‘The secret lives of the “sovereign”: rethinking sovereignty as international morality’, in Douglas Howland and Luise White (eds.), Sovereignty Past and Present: History, Culture, Politics (Bloomington IN, forthcoming).

27 I am proposing a somewhat more complicated narrative of how this came about than does Basil Davidson, but the cogency of much of his criticism of the narrowing of options into that of territorial nation-states remains. The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State (New York, 1992).

28 Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals; Karen Fields, Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa (Princeton, 1985); Terretta Meredith, ‘“God of independence, God of peace”: village politics and nationalism in the maquis of Cameroon, 1957–71’, Journal of African History, 46 (2005), 75102; Peter Geschiere, The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa, trans. Peter Geschiere and Janet Roitman (Charlottesville, 1997).

29 Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale, Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and Africa (Athens OH, 1992); Derek Peterson, Creative Writing: Translation, Bookkeeping, and the Work of Imagination in Colonial Kenya (Portsmouth NH, 2004). On debates in the political crisis of 2007–8 in Kenya, see the blogs of John Lonsdale and Angelique Haugerud on, Feb. 2008.

30 Luise White, Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (Berkeley, 2000); Adam Ashforth, Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa (Chicago, 2005).

31 Jean-François Bayart, L'état en Afrique: la politique du ventre (Paris, 1989), 317–18, 324.

32 The origins of such debates during colonial times and their continued importance are emphasized in Gregory Maddox and James Giblin in the Introduction to their In Search of a Nation: Histories of Authority and Dissidence in Tanzania (London, 2005), 1–12.

33 A similar objection can be raised in regard to occasional claims that Africa is being ‘recolonized’ – by humanitarians and developers in the name of doing good for Africans, if not by international financial institutions and Western military forces in their own interests.

34 Cooper, Decolonization and African Society. Keese's sharp analysis (‘First lessons in neo-colonialism’) of the hesitations and difficulties of French leaders in establishing postcolonial relationships with former colonies – and writing off some of them in the process – still uses this inadequate term.

35 Colin Leys wrote a classic statement of the dependency case, then changed his position to assert the development of a Kenyan capitalist class. Underdevelopment in Kenya: The Political Economy of Neo-Colonialism (Berkeley, 1974); ‘Capital accumulation, class formation, and dependency – the significance of the Kenyan case’, in Ralph Miliband and John Saville (eds.), The Socialist Register 1978, 241–66. Scholars such as Peter Anyang' Nyongo, Apollo Njonjo, Raphael Kaplinsky, Gavin Kitching, Michael Cowen and Michael Chege were among those weighing in. The debate is reviewed and updated in Ajulu Rok, ‘Thinking through the crisis of democratisation in Kenya: a response to Adar and Murunga’, African Sociological Review, 4 (2000), 133–57.

36 For a historian's take on political economy during the transition to independence, see Robert Tignor, Capitalism and Nationalism at the End of Empire: State and Business in Decolonizing Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, 1945–1963 (Princeton, 1998). There is a great deal of historical work to be done on the political economy of the postwar era, but one can still profitably consult Ralph Austen, Africa in Economic History (London, 1987), and A. G. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa (London, 1973).

37 Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass, Class, Race, and Inequality in South Africa (New Haven, 2005); Gillian Hart, Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Berkeley, 2002).

38 For a nuanced view, see Robert Bates, Beyond the Miracle of the Market: The Political Economy of Agrarian Development in Kenya (Cambridge, 1989).

39 Haugerud Angelique, ‘Land tenure and agrarian change in Kenya’, Africa, 59 (1989), 6190, 61 quoted; Sara Berry, Chiefs Know Their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power, and the Past in Asante, 1896–1996 (Portsmouth NH, 2001); Boone Catherine, ‘Property and constitutional order: land tenure reform and the future of the African state’, African Affairs, 106 (2007), 557–86. Where individual titles were entrenched via white settlement, the issue takes on a different valence – and has been handled in contrasting ways in South Africa and Zimbabwe. See Jocelyn Alexander, The Unsettled Land: State-Making and the Politics of Land in Zimbabwe 1893–2003 (Athens OH, 2006).

40 I have published an extended critique of the concept of globalization elsewhere. See the chapter ‘Globalization’ in Cooper, Colonialism in Question.

41 In 1939, 1947 and 1955, a few thousand dockworkers in Mombasa could cut off Kenya's and Uganda's connection to the outside world. In January 2007, small bands of men, angered by apparent manipulation of election results, again blocked these narrow pathways.

42 Scholars like Christopher Bayly and Sanjay Subrahmanyam have stressed the importance of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian networks, presenting a picture more complex than the ‘expansion of Europe’. An alternative narrative, drawing on such scholarship, is presented in Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires and the Politics of Difference in World History (Princeton, forthcoming).

43 Jane Guyer, Marginal Gains: Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa (Chicago, 2004), 157.

44 Thandika Mkandawire, ‘The global economic context’, and Camilla Toulmin and Ben Wisner, ‘Introduction’, in Wisner, Toulmin and Rutendo Chitiga (eds.), Towards a New Map of Africa (London, 2005), 6–7, 159–60.

45 Emery Roe, Except-Africa: Remaking Development, Rethinking Power (New Brunswick, 1999).

46 Africa bashing, stronger on denunciation than explanation, is a favorite sport of journalists and others, including some Africans. Robert Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War (New York, 2000); Robert Calderisi, The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working (London, 2007); George B. N. Ayittey, Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future (New York, 2005).

47 William Reno, ‘Insurgencies in the shadow of state collapse’, and Douglas Johnson, ‘Darfur: peace, genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan’, in Preben Kaarsholm (ed.), Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa (Athens OH, 2006), 25–48, 92–104.

48 If the dependency school argument that sees the impoverishment of the periphery as the cause of the wealth of the core is too simple, the relationship of imperial power to the development of capitalism has received more subtle and penetrating treatment. See, in particular, Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: Europe, China, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton, 2000).

49 For a critique of international relations theory for taking stylized ‘Western’ norms as a standard to impose on the rest of the world, see Siba Grovogui, Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions (New York, 2006). See also James Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham, 2006).

50 Here lies the weakness in the often-perceptive critique of William Easterly of foreign aid and state planning: correct in pointing out the sustenance that this nexus has given to corrupt, ineffective and repressive governments; short-sighted in not addressing the fact that some kinds of activities do require central planning, provision of services of generalized utility and the means to finance them. The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and so Little Good (New York, 2006). From another point in the political spectrum, the anti-state argument of James Scott is equally oversimplified. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, 1998).

51 Abdul Raufu Mustapha, ‘Rethinking Africanist political science’, CODESRIA Bulletin, 3–4 (2006), 3–10, esp. 8.

52 Meredeth Turshen, Privatizing Health Services in Africa (New Brunswick NJ, 1999); Randall Packard, The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Baltimore, 2007).

53 Development has become the focus of historical investigation, and one of the best studies of how this politics played out at the local level is Monica van Beusekom, Negotiating Development: African Farmers and Colonial Experts at the Office du Niger, 1920–1960 (Portsmouth NH, 2002). More generally, see Frederick Cooper and Randall Packard (eds.), International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays in Knowledge and History (Berkeley, 1997).

54 For a useful exposition of the importance and insufficiency of the ‘political economy’ and ‘postmodernist/postcolonialist’ schools among Africanists see Steven Robins, ‘“The (Third) world is a ghetto”? Looking for a third space between “postmodern cosmopolitanism” and cultural nationalism’, CODESRIA Bulletin, 1–2 (2004), 18–27. For a thoughtful Latin Americanist's take on issues of development, inequality and cultural critique, see Weinstein Barbara, ‘Developing inequality’, American Historical Review, 113 (2008), 118.

55 Cooper, Africa since 1940. My argument is cousin to Jean-François Bayart's emphasis on the extraversion of African polities and the ‘politics of the belly’ within them. L'état en Afrique.

56 See the pioneering study of Bjorn Beckman, Organizing the Farmers: Cocoa Politics and National Development in Ghana (Uppsala, 1976).

57 The thinness of nationalism was suggested long ago by Aristide Zolberg, Creating Political Order: The Party States of West Africa (Chicago, 1966).

58 Jane Guyer notes that even the limited forms of direct taxation of colonial regimes were dismantled by some African states, fearful that their capacity to penetrate rural society was insufficient to collect revenue. Revenue depended more on import–export trade – including single sources like oil – or foreign aid. ‘Representation without taxation: an essay on democracy in rural Nigeria, 1952–1990’, African Studies Review, 35 (1992), 41–79. See also von Soest Christian, ‘How does neopatrimonialism affect the African state's revenues? The case of tax collection in Zambia’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 45 (2007), 621–45.

59 There was not necessarily a sharp line between the strategies of gatekeeping state elites and gatehopping networks, for rulers worked through networks as well as state institutions. See, for example, Janet Roitman, Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa (Princeton, 2005).

60 Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge, 2005), 137–41; Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976 (Chapel Hill, 2002).

61 For an economist's estimates of the costs of conflict on the poorest of the poor, see Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (Oxford, 2007).

62 Catherine Boone, Political Topographies of the African State: Territorial Authority and Institutional Choice (Cambridge, 2003).

63 Tony Hodges, Angola: Anatomy of an Oil State (2nd ed., Bloomington IN, 2004); Christine Messiant, ‘Angola: the challenge of statehood’, in David Birmingham and Phyllis Martin (eds.), History of Central Africa: The Contemporary Years since 1960 (London, 1998), 131–66.

64 Gavin Kitching, Class and Economic Change in Kenya: The Making of an African Petite-Bourgeoisie (New Haven, 1980); Sandra Barnes, Patrons and Power: Creating a Political Community in Metropolitan Lagos (Bloomington IN, 1986); Sara Berry, Fathers Work for Their Sons: Accumulation, Mobility, and Class Formation in an Extended Yoruba Community (Berkeley, 1984).

65 James Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt (Berkeley, 1999).

66 Westad, Global Cold War, 359–60.

67 Van de Walle, African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 95, 121–34.

68 For the new development initiative, see Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (New York, 2005).

69 See Herbst, States and Power, 131, for a related argument.

70 Toulmin and Wisner, ‘Introduction’ to Wisner, Toulmin and Chitiga (eds.), Towards a New Map of Africa, 17; Paul Richards, ‘Forced labour and civil war: agrarian underpinnings of the Sierra Leone conflict’, in Preben Kaarsholm (ed.), Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa (Athens OH, 2006), 187; Michael Bratton and Nicolas van de Walle, Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge, 1997).

71 On the latter point, see Seekings and Nattrass, Class, Race, and Inequality in South Africa.

72 Zolberg, Creating Political Order. Patrick Chabral and Jean-Pascal Daloz may have a point in seeing that such forms of politics are functional in their own ways, but they do not given an adequate account of their consequences. L'Afrique est partie! Du désordre comme instrument politique (Paris, 1999).

73 Nyerere, quoted in Herbst, States and Power, 97.

74 Archives of the Fédération du Mali (fonds FM), Archives du Sénégal; Fonds Foccart (FPU and FPR), Archives nationales françaises. One concession won by African leaders in 1959 was to get France to recognize multiple nationalities within the Community, each in turn providing rights of the citizen on territories throughout the Community.

75 One solution to the distribution of power within a state was tried in Nigeria during and after the Biafran war, when the government broke up a 3-province federal state – in which a simple alliance of two parties could dominate the entire system – into first 12, then 19, units. The potential of a less centralized system was drowned in oil, but Nigeria has not experienced a second Biafran war. More generally, see Jesse Ribot and Phil René Oyono, ‘The politics of decentralization’, in Wisner, Toulmin and Chitiga (eds.), Towards a New Map of Africa, 205–28.

76 Dimier Véronique, ‘L'institutionnalisation de la Commission européene (DG Développement) du rôle des leaders dans la construction d'une administration multinationale 1958–1975’, Revue Etudes Internationales, 34 (2003), 401–27; Keese, ‘First lessons in neo-colonialism’.

77 Carolyn Nordstrom, A Different Kind of War Story (Philadelphia, 1997); Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy; Roitman, Fiscal Disobedience; William Reno, Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone (Cambridge, 1995); William Reno, Warlord Politics and African States (Boulder, 1998); Edna Bay and Donald Donham (eds.), States of Violence: Politics, Youth, and Memory in Contemporary Africa (Charlottesville, 2006).

78 Timothy Scarnecchia, The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe (Rochester NY, 2008); Susan Geiger, TANU Women: Gender and Culture in the Making of Tanzanian Nationalism, 1955–1965 (Portsmouth NH, 1997); Schmidt, Mobilizing the Masses.

79 Lynn Thomas, Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya (Berkeley, 2003). The many fine studies of gender include Lisa Lindsay, Working with Gender: Men, Women, and Wage Labour in Southwest Nigeria (Portsmouth NH, 2003); Lisa Lindsay and Stephan Miescher (eds.), Men and Masculinities in Modern Africa (Portsmouth NH, 2003); Dorothy Hodgson, Once Intrepid Warriors: Gender, Ethnicity and the Cultural Politics of Development among Maasai, 1880s–1990s (Bloomington IN, 2001); Dorothy Hodgson and Sheryl McCurdy (eds.), ‘Wicked’ Women and the Reconfiguration of Gender in Africa (Portsmouth NH, 2001).

80 Shireen Hassim, Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority (Madison WI, 2006); Gwendolyn Mikell (ed.), African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa (Philadelphia, 1997).

81 Aili Mari Tripp, Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania (Berkeley, 1997).

82 See, for example, Meredith McKittrick, To Dwell Secure: Generation, Christianity, and Colonialism in Ovamboland (Portsmouth NH, 2002); Lesley Sharp, The Sacrificed Generation: Youth, History, and the Colonized Mind in Madagascar (Berkeley, 2002).

83 Waller Richard, ‘Rebellious youth in colonial Africa’, Journal of African History, 47 (2006), 7792; Alcina Honwana and Filip de Boeck (eds.), Makers and Breakers: Children and Youth in Postcolonial Africa (Trenton NJ, 2005); Kaarsholm, Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa, especially the articles of William Reno, Koen Vlassenroot and Kaarsholm on Sierra Leone, eastern Congo and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively.

84 See the contributions of John Lonsdale to Berman and Lonsdale, Unhappy Valley.

85 B. A. Ogot, ‘Revolt of the elders: an anatomy of the loyalist crowd in the Mau Mau uprising’, in B. A. Ogot (ed.), Hadith 4 (Nairobi, 1972), 134–48; Allman, Quills of the Porcupine.

86 François Manchuelle, Willing Migrants: Soninke Labor Diasporas, 1848–1960 (Athens OH, 1997). For two other forms of French–African connection, see Gregory Mann, Native Sons: West African Veterans and France in the Twentieth Century (Durham, 2006), and Janet MacGaffey and Rémy Bazenguissa-Ganga, Congo – Paris: Transnational Traders on the Margins of the Law (Bloomington IN, 2000).

87 Mamadou Diouf emphasizes the global reference, ‘Engaging postcolonial cultures: African youth and public space’, African Studies Review, 46 (2003), 1–12. Jay Straker finds continued evidence in Guinea of the continued relevance to youth of national patriotism and possibilities of development. ‘Youth, globalisation, and millennial reflection in a Guinean forest town’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 45 (2007), 299–319. There is now a growing body of literature that treats sociability, sports and the leisure activity of the young. Phyllis Martin, Leisure and Society in Colonial Brazzaville (Cambridge, 1995); Charles Tshimanga, Jeunesse, formation et société au Congo/Kinshasa 1890–1960 (Paris, 2001); Susann Baller (ed.), ‘The other game: the politics of football in Africa’, special section of Afrika Spectrum, 41 (2006), 325–453.

88 Mohammed Harbi, ‘Colonisations, histoires coloniales, temps présent’, in Benjamin Stora and Daniel Hémery (eds.), Histoires coloniales: héritages et transmissions (Paris, 2007), 222.

89 For one example of such debates and idioms, see Peterson, Creative Writing.

90 Adebayo Olukoshi, ‘African scholars and African studies’, in Henning Melber (ed.), On Africa: Scholars and African Studies, Discussion Paper, 35 (Uppsala, 2007), 7–22. Many African scholars are political exiles as much as economic ones. Mamadou Diouf and Mahmood Mamdani (eds.), Academic Freedom in Africa (Dakar, 1994).

* An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Africana Center seminar at Johns Hopkins University. I am grateful to members of the seminar and to Andreas Eckert for comments.

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