This rich collection of biographies of African men and women adds a crucial human dimension to our understanding of African history since 1800. The last two centuries have been a time of enormous change on the continent, and these life stories show how people survived by resisting European conquest and colonial rule, by collaborating with colonial powers, or by finding a middle way to live their lives through tumultuous times. Bringing the story to the present, the book traces the era of independence since the 1960s through challenges to the rule of African dictators, struggles for the rights of women and mothers, the exploitation of youth and child soldiers, and economic booms and busts.
By recounting the lives of real, identifiable people from societies across Africa south of the Sahara and from African communities in Europe, this unique book underscores the importance and power of individual agency in understanding the recent African past, a vital complement to analyses of broader, impersonal social and economic factors.
Contributions by: Agnes Adjamagbo, Maryan Muuse Boqor, Dennis D. Cordell, Jose C. Curto, Mamadou Diouf, Andreas Eckert, Laura Fair, Tovin Falola, Doug Henry, Lidwien Kapteijns, Issiaka Mande, Cora Ann Presley, Carolyn F. Sargent, Pamela Scully, Ibrahim Sundiata, and Marcia Wright.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 316
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 231 x 155 x 19 mm
This remarkable book traces the experiences of significant actors who-without pretensions to heroism-changed society; women and men who took charge of destiny rather than submitting to it. These are stories that obliterate Afropessimism. Confronting the forces of transition, negotiating the constraints of gender, religion, and race; these individuals promoted a larger cause. Their histories illustrate resilience and the infinite capital of human creativity necessary to make their lives. The Human Tradition in Modern Africa is a great lesson in humanity, an inexhaustible resource for those who teach, and an inspiration for young scholars! -- Bogumil Jewsiewicki, Universite Laval, Quebec City
This collection of biographies and its masterful introduction reveals a fresh view on Africa's past. History grasped through biography becomes more concrete, more real, more contingent, hence richer and more satisfying to the imagination. It is undoubtedly the perfect complement to any text on modern African history. -- Jan Vansina, University of Wisconsin-Madison
These life stories of everyday African men and women splendidly humanize and gender the complexity of modern African history. Fully participating in the making of their era, these people were living actors in the large-scale history of their continent. -- Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Universite Paris Diderot-Paris 7