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    Peace Adzo Medie, author of Reese’s Book Club pick His Only Wife, returns with a moving novel about the unbreakable power of female friendship.

    When Selasi and Akorfa were young girls in Ghana, they were more than just cousins; they were inseparable. Selasi was exuberant and funny, Akorfa quiet and studious. They would do anything for each other, imploring their parents to let them be together, sharing their secrets and desires and private jokes.

    Then Selasi begins to change, becoming hostile and quiet; her grades suffer and she builds a space around herself, shutting Akorfa out. Meanwhile, Akorfa is accepted to an American university with the goal of becoming a doctor. Although hopeful that she can create a fuller life as a woman in America, she discovers the insidious ways that racism places obstacles in her path once she leaves Ghana. It takes a crisis to bring the friends back together, with Selasi’s secret revealed and Akorfa forced to reckon with her role in their estrangement.

    A riveting depiction of class and family in Ghana, a compelling exploration of memory, and an eye-opening story of life as an African-born woman in the United States, Nightbloom is above all a gripping and beautifully written novel attesting to the strength of female bonds in the face of societies that would prefer to silence women.


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    Wildlife Between Empire and Nation in Twentieth-Century Africa

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    This book traces the emergence of wildlife policy in colonial eastern and central Africa over the course of a century. Spanning from imperial conquest through the consolidation of colonial rule, the rise of nationalism, and the emergence of neocolonial and neoliberal institutions, this book shows how these fundamental themes of the twentieth century shaped the relationships between humans and animals in what are today Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Malawi. A set of key themes emerges—changing administrative forms, militarization, nationalism, science, and a relentlessly broadening constituency for wildlife. Jeff Schauer illuminates how each of these developments were contingent upon the colonial experience, and how they fashioned a web of structures for understanding and governing wildlife in Africa—one which has lasted into the twenty-first century.

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    Violence and Gender in Africa’s Iberian Colonies

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    This book examines how and why Portugal and Spain increasingly engaged with women in their African colonies in the crucial period from the 1950s to the 1970s. It explores the rhetoric of benevolent Iberian colonialism, gendered Westernization, and development for African women as well as actual imperial practices – from forced resettlement to sexual exploitation to promoting domestic skills. Focusing on Angola, Mozambique, Western Sahara, and Equatorial Guinea, the author mines newly available and neglected documents, including sources from Portuguese and Spanish women’s organizations overseas. They offer insights into how African women perceived and responded to their assigned roles within an elite that was meant to preserve the empires and stabilize Afro-Iberian ties. The book also retraces parallels and differences between imperial strategies regarding women and the notions of African anticolonial movements about what women should contribute to the struggle for independence and the creation of new nation-states.

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    The Souls of White Folk

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    Kenya’s white settlers have been alternately celebrated and condemned, painted as romantic pioneers or hedonistic bed-hoppers or crude racists. The souls of white folk examines settlers not as caricatures, but as people inhabiting a unique historical moment. It takes seriously – though not uncritically – what settlers said, how they viewed themselves and their world. It argues that the settler soul was composed of a series of interlaced ideas: settlers equated civilisation with a (hard to define) whiteness; they were emotionally enriched through claims to paternalism and trusteeship over Africans; they felt themselves constantly threatened by Africans, by the state, and by the moral failures of other settlers; and they daily enacted their claims to supremacy through rituals of prestige, deference, humiliation and violence. The souls of white folk will appeal to those interested in the histories of Africa, colonialism, and race, and can be appreciated by scholars and students alike.

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    Race, Rights and Reform

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    Sarah C. Dunstan constructs a narrative of black struggles for rights and citizenship that spans most of the twentieth century, encompassing a wide range of people and movements from France and the United States, the French Caribbean and African colonies. She explores how black scholars and activists grappled with the connections between culture, race and citizenship and access to rights, mapping African American and Francophone black intellectual collaborations from the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the March on Washington in 1963. Connecting the independent archives of black activist organizations within America and France with those of international institutions such as the League of Nations, the United Nations and the Comintern, Dunstan situates key black intellectuals in a transnational framework. She reveals how questions of race and nation intersected across national and imperial borders and illuminates the ways in which black intellectuals simultaneously constituted and reconfigured notions of Western civilization.

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    The Moroccan Soul

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    Before French conquest, education played an important role in Moroccan society as a means of cultural reproduction and as a form of cultural capital that defined a person’s social position. Primarily religious and legal in character, the Moroccan educational system did not pursue European educational ideals. Following the French conquest of Morocco, however, the French established a network of colonial schools for Moroccan Muslims designed to further the agendas of the conquerors. The Moroccan Soul examines the history of the French education system in colonial Morocco, the development of French conceptions about the “Moroccan Soul,” and the effect of these ideas on pedagogy, policy making, and politics.

    Fueled in large part by French conceptions of “Moroccanness” as a static, natural, and neatly bounded identity, colonial schooling was designed to minimize conflict by promoting the consent of the colonized. This same colonial school system, however, was also a site of interaction between colonial authorities and Moroccan Muslims, and became a locus of changing strategies of Moroccan resistance and contestation, which culminated in the rise of the Moroccan nationalist movement. Spencer D. Segalla reveals how the resistance of the colonized shaped the ideas and policies of the school system and how French ideas and policies shaped the strategies and discourse of anticolonial resistance.

    Spencer D. Segalla is an assistant professor of history at the University of Tampa. His articles have appeared in French Colonial History, Journal of North African Studies, and Edith Wharton Review.

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    Modern African Conflicts

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    An essential resource for students or general readers interested in post-colonial Africa, this encyclopedia provides coverage of different regions, countries, wars, battles, factions, leaders, and foreign powers.

    Armed conflict represents a substantial part of African history since around 1960, yet this history is either insufficiently taught or overshadowed by negative stereotypes about African “tribal warfare.”

    In an effort to introduce this vital topic to students and general readers alike, this one-volume encyclopedia provides concise historical information on conflicts that occurred in postcolonial Africa. The entries cover all the regions of Africa (North, West, Central, East, and Southern); the Cold War and post–Cold War periods; a range of important leaders; various types of conflicts from civil wars and insurgencies to conventional military engagements; involvement of foreign powers; and such themes as airpower, women and war, and genocide.

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    Liberty Brought Us Here

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    Between 1820 and 1913, approximately 16,000 black people left the United States to start new lives in Liberia, Africa, in what was at the time the largest out-migration in US history. When Tolbert Major, a former Kentucky slave and single father, was offered his own chance for freedom, he accepted. He, several family members, and seventy other people boarded the Luna on July 5, 1836. After they arrived in Liberia, Tolbert penned a letter to his former owner, Ben Major: “Dear Sir, We have all landed on the shores of Africa and got into our houses…. None of us have been taken with the fever yet.”

    Drawing on extensive research and fifteen years’ worth of surviving letters, author Susan E. Lindsey illuminates the trials and triumphs of building a new life in Liberia, where settlers were free, but struggled to acclimate themselves to an unfamiliar land, coexist with indigenous groups, and overcome disease and other dangers. Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia explores the motives and attitudes of colonization supporters and those who lived in the colony, offering perspectives beyond the standard narrative that colonization was driven solely by racism or forced exile.

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    The Katangese Gendarmes and War in Central Africa

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    A history of the 1960s unrecognized state’s army and their role in Central Africa’s political and military conflicts.

    Erik Kennes and Miles Larmer provide a history of the Katangese gendarmes and their largely undocumented role in many of the most important political and military conflicts in Central Africa. Katanga, located in today’s Democratic Republic of Congo, seceded in 1960 as Congo achieved independence, and the gendarmes fought as the unrecognized state’s army during the Congo crisis. Kennes and Larmer explain how the ex-gendarmes, then exiled in Angola, struggled to maintain their national identity and return “home.” They take readers through the complex history of the Katangese and their engagement in regional conflicts and Africa’s Cold War. Kennes and Larmer show how the paths not taken at Africa’s independence persist in contemporary political and military movements and bring new understandings to the challenges that personal and collective identities pose to the relationship between African nation-states and their citizens and subjects.

    “A fascinating story which is tied to the colonial development of Katanga province, cold war politics in Central Africa, the crisis of the postcolonial state in the Congo, and the interregional politics in the Great Lakes area.” —Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, University of North Carolina

    “A major contribution to our understanding of postcolonial politics in Africa more broadly and sheds light on the survival of militias over time and forms of subnationalism emerging from regional consciousness.” —M. Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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    Imperial Incarceration

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    For nineteenth-century Britons, the rule of law stood at the heart of their constitutional culture, and guaranteed the right not to be imprisoned without trial. At the same time, in an expanding empire, the authorities made frequent resort to detention without trial to remove political leaders who stood in the way of imperial expansion. Such conduct raised difficult questions about Britain’s commitment to the rule of law. Was it satisfied if the sovereign validated acts of naked power by legislative forms, or could imperial subjects claim the protection of Magna Carta and the common law tradition? In this pathbreaking book, Michael Lobban explores how these matters were debated from the liberal Cape, to the jurisdictional borderlands of West Africa, to the occupied territory of Egypt, and shows how and when the demands of power undermined the rule of law. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

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    In the Forest of No Joy

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    The epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad and the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

    The Congo-Océan railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state.

    African workers were forcibly conscripted and separated from their families, and subjected to hellish conditions as they hacked their way through dense tropical foliage—a “forest of no joy”; excavated by hand thousands of tons of earth in order to lay down track; blasted their way through rock to construct tunnels; or risked their lives building bridges over otherwise impassable rivers. In the process, they suffered disease, malnutrition, and rampant physical abuse, likely resulting in at least 20,000 deaths.

    In the Forest of No Joy captures in vivid detail the experiences of the men, women, and children who toiled on the railroad, and forces a reassessment of the moral relationship between modern industrialized empires and what could be called global humanitarian impulses—the desire to improve the lives of people outside of Europe. Drawing on exhaustive research in French and Congolese archives, a chilling documentary record, and heartbreaking photographic evidence, J.P. Daughton tells the epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad, and in doing so reveals the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

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    Food and Famine in Colonial Kenya

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    This book offers a genealogical critique of how food scarcity was governed in colonial Kenya. With an approach informed by the ‘analysis of government’, the study accounts for the emergence and persistence of dominant approaches to promoting food security in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa – policies and practices that prioritize increased agricultural production as the principal means of achieving food security. Drawing on a range of archival sources, the book investigates how those tasked with governing colonial Kenya confronted food as a particular kind of problem. It emphasizes the ways in which that problem shifted in conjunction with the emergence and consolidation of the colonial state and economic relations in the territory. The book applies a novel conceptual approach to the historical study of African food systems and famine, and provides the first longitudinal and in-depth analysis of the dynamics of food scarcity and its government in Kenya.

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    From Empires to NGOs in the West African Sahel

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    This book looks beyond the familiar history of former empires and new nation-states to consider newly transnational communities of solidarity and aid, social science and activism. Shortly after independence from France in 1960, the people living along the Sahel – a long, thin stretch of land bordering the Sahara – became the subjects of human rights campaigns and humanitarian interventions. Just when its states were strongest and most ambitious, the postcolonial West African Sahel became fertile terrain for the production of novel forms of governmental rationality realized through NGOs. The roots of this “nongovernmentality” lay partly in Europe and North America, but it flowered, paradoxically, in the Sahel. This book is unique in that it questions not only how West African states exercised their new sovereignty but also how and why NGOs – ranging from CARE and Amnesty International to black internationalists – began to assume elements of sovereignty during a period in which it was so highly valued.

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