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The birth of independent African nations, the rise of the Civil Rights movement and African-American Studies in the U.S., and the end of the Cold War all prompted the emergence of African Studies as an important area of inquiry in Africa, Europe, and North America. Founded as Africa was emerging from centuries of the slave trade and foreign domination, the field has sought to displace racist foreign notions to explore African perspectives on art, culture, economics, geography and the environment, ancient and modern history, literature, music, politics, religion, science and thought, and society.
Over more than half a century, the field has emerged as a diverse multidisciplinary effort that spans multiple epistemologies and methodologies, making it challenging for students and scholars to be informed about every applicable area. And given the diversity of African environments and peoples it is difficult to appreciate both its broad similarities and complex specificities. We have thus combined broad introductions to such subjects as African society, politics, or literature with specific studies of individual peoples, states, or literary traditions to enable the user to appreciate Africans’ distinctiveness as well as their diversity.
Since the literature on African Studies is diverse, fast moving, controversial, and scattered among unfamiliar sources, we have asked leading scholars to identify the most significant themes and areas of study in their fields, recommend the best sources for exploring them, and discuss these works conceptual and empirical significance to provide a series of guided studies through the diverse approaches to a wide array of complex subjects. A great deal of this work has moved online with the most recent scholarship, research, and statistics appearing in online databases. With advances in online searching and database technologies, researchers and practitioners can easily access library catalogs, bibliographic indexes, and other lists that show thousands of resources that might also be useful to them. In this situation what is most needed is expert guidance. Researchers and practitioners at all levels need tools that help them filter through the proliferation of information sources to material that is reliable and directly relevant to their inquiries. Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies offers a trustworthy pathway through the thicket of information overload.
Editor in Chief
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is Vice Chancellor (President) and Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the United States International University Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a PhD in economic history from Dalhousie University, Canada, a Master of Arts from the University of London, and an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at Dalhousie University for outstanding personal achievement. Prior to joining USIA-A, he was Vice President of Academic Affairs at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Previously he was Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and President’s Professor of History and African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. In the early 2000s he worked as a consultant for the Ford and MacArthur foundations on their initiatives to revitalize higher education in Africa and as an adviser to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development for a project entitled Policy Report on Gender and Development: 10 Years after Beijing. He is a past president of the U.S. African Studies Association (2008–2009). Dr. Zeleza’s academic work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from economic and intellectual history to human rights, gender studies, and diaspora studies. He has published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, short stories and online essays and authored or edited 27 books, several of which have won international awards including Africa’s most prestigious book prize, the Noma Award, for his books A Modern Economic History of Africa (1993) and Manufacturing African Studies and Crises (1997). His most recent books include In Search of African Diasporas: Testimonies and Encounters (2012), Africa’s Resurgence: Domestic, Global and Diaspora Transformations (2014), and The Transformations of Global Higher Education (2016).
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