The Production of History and Culture in Africa Revisited. Problems, Methods, Sources: Volume 4 - Studia Orientalia Monographica (Paperback)Viera Pawlikova-Vilhanova (author)
Paperback 119 Pages / Published: 01/10/2013
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The paper focuses on critical reflections of the production of academic African history over the last fifty or so years and on the growth and development of African historiographies, on the formative processes of the production of historical and cultural knowledge within and about Africa, on the content, methodology and relevance of African history and its place in the world. This monograph is reflecting some of the developments and issues of the constitution of African history as a field of academic specialization on the past five or six decades. Before circa 1950 the study of African history was still in its infancy. The study of African history was virtually non-existent and anthropology dominated the study of Africa. In the 1950s university-trained historians turned to the study of African history and in a world that was decolonizing, the knowledge of Africa became radically redefined. The end of colonialism and the transfer of power was a major reason for the new historiography of Africa. The new historical research on Africa was driven by a single idea: to decolonize historical knowledge of Africa and to prove that Africans have a history of their own.In the 1950s and 1960s African historiography became radically redefined and African historical studies elaborated a new approach to the study of the African past. African history had to be a history of Africans and had to be studied from "the African point of view". The monograph describes difficulties relating to the development of the African historiography: the difficulty of sources and the problem of methodology. Decolonising African history was baffled by the comparative scarcity of documentary source materials and the new African historiography therefore had to pay great attention to an adequate methodology specific to the use of sources other than written. The production of historical knowledge about Africa has not been homogeneous and the monograph identifies the following periods of the development of African historiography: the sense of crisis in this particular academic pursuit and of the fundamental questioning and reassessment in the 1970s and 1980s as well as developments since the 1990s and "the current state of the art".The work also pays attention to enormous number of books dealing with the history of the writing of African history sucha s two distinguished Africanist historians, R. Oliver and Jan Vansina, an autobiography A Mouth Sweeter than Salt written by Toyin Falola, an eminent Nigerian historian or a systematic study of this important phenomenon paid by Russian historiography of Africa. Some research has been carried out on this subject in other East and Central European countries. Last but not least the work describes assets of the most important international projects tightly related to the development of African historiography, collection of sources and formation of methods - Fontes Historiae Africanae, Arabic Literature of Africa, South Africa Mali-Timbuktu Manuscripts Project and many others.
Publisher: Institute of Oriental Studies
Number of pages: 119
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