Work of the Fellows: Edited Volumes

Africa and the West: The Legacies of Empire

Bjornson, Richard (Fellow, 1982-83); Mowoe, Isaac James, ed.

New York: Greenwood Press, 1986

From the publisher's description:

This volume, written by leading African and Western specialists, is among the first to provide a broad interdisciplinary view of African culture that allows contemporary Africa to be understood on its own terms--freed from Western ethnocentric preconceptions and values. The book begins with an overview of current African scholarship, followed by Philip Curtin's historical essay on Africa's 400-year relationship with European culture, with special emphasis on the mass migrations brought about by the slave trade. Discussions of indigenous cultural symbols and religious belief systems reveal a rich and continuing heritage and deepen our understanding of modern African society. Several chapters are devoted to the intellectual and cultural life of Francophone Africa--its major writers and scholars and the deep cultural conflict experienced by French-speaking African elites. A chapter by Leopold Senghor, former president of Senegal and a leading cultural figure in Francophone Africa, offers an eloquent statement of the post-colonial African world view. A new form of imperialism--the control of the mass media by powerful industrial nations--and the dangers it poses to African identity and autonomy are examined. Other topics covered are the evolution of African legal and judicial systems and recent developments in African musicology.


Subjects: History; Colonialism; Cultural Studies; Imperialism