The Search for Africa: History, Culture, Politics

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9780812925272: The Search for Africa: History, Culture, Politics
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Following the success of his highly acclaimed The Black Man's Burden, Davidson offers a timely collection of essays which are essential to the understanding of the passionate spirit of modern African studies.

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e success of his highly acclaimed The Black Man's Burden, Davidson offers a timely collection of essays which are essential to the understanding of the passionate spirit of modern African studies.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A mixed bag of 20 essays and lectures (most reprinted from The New Statesman and other journals) by Africa-expert Davidson (The Black Man's Burden, 1992, etc.), selected by the author in commemoration of his 80th birthday. The best essays here were chosen by Davidson because, he says, they offer ``a line of thought that can illuminate one of the truly liberating achievements, cultural achievements, of the twentieth century: the reinstallation of Africa's peoples within the cultures of the world.'' In ``The Search for Africa's Past,'' for instance, the author discusses not only the seminal role that the West African gold trade played in creating the prosperity of ``late- medieval Europe,'' but also the many kingdoms that existed throughout Africa in precolonial times--kingdoms that Davidson thinks would have evolved into strong nation-states if the Europeans had allowed them to do so. Elsewhere, in ``Africa and the Invention of Racism,'' Davidson points out how, in the late 17th century, attitudes toward Africa changed for the worse: Before then, he explains, Europeans ``believed that they had found forms of civilization which were often comparable with their own, however variously dressed or mannered.'' But other essays included here- -especially those on South Africa, Angola, and the African peasantry--seem not only dated but often wrong. In particular, ``Southern Africa: Progress or Disaster?,'' written shortly before Nelson Mandela was released, suggests outcomes for South Africa far removed from what actually took place. Moreover, the laying of blame by Davidson (a committed socialist) on capitalism for all of Africa's ills is less than persuasive, especially in ``Nationalism and Africa's Self-Transformation,'' which faults the African nationalists who ``hoped to build independent capitalist systems based on deepening class stratification and bourgeois hegemony,'' as well as the colonialists who, he says, wished to establish a ``subcapitalist dependency.'' Davidson has his biases, and they show--but so, too, do his great affection and goodwill for a continent too often maligned or ignored. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780812922783: The Search for Africa: History, Culture, Politics

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ISBN 10:  0812922786 ISBN 13:  9780812922783
Publisher: Crown, 1994
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