ON THE TEACHING OF AFRICAN ANTHROPOLOGY
by Phillips Stevens, Jr.
(The Southern Association of Africanists, in conjunction with other state and regional Africanist associations, co-sponsored a series of four panels on teaching undergraduates about Africa at the African Studies Association Conference in Baltimore., November Z-5, 1978. This paper was presented at the panel on anthropology and is printed here along with commoent by discussants James L. Gibbs, Stanford University and Hilda Kuper, U. C. L.A. Two of the other papers have been published elsewhere. Thomas Q. Reefe's "I am a Pedagogue: Teaching African History in the Southern Part of Heaven" appeared in
the New York African-Studies Association Newsletter No. 12_, Z978-79. Mark W. DeLancey 's "Teaching the International Relations of Africa: A Collection of Syllabi," a major portion of the panel paper on teaching African political science, was published in Z979 as an occasional paper of the Institute of International Studies, University of South Carolina. Phillips Stevens, Jr. is an associate professor of Anthropology of SUNY, Buffalo.)
The following comments should be received with the recognition that they are geared toward the presentation of a one-semester (approximately 15 weeks), no-prerequisite, undergraduate course on the peoples and cultures of subSaharan Africa. I should also point out that the course to be discussed here makes no effort to cover trans-Atlantic topics. SUNY at Buffalo has an active Department of Black Studies which offers a number of courses on aspects of Afro-American history and culture. Finally, I am by no means a "lonely Africanist" at my University. 'I am chairman of a Committee whose faculty members number roughly 30, at least 20 of whom have had extensive African experience, and who represent a great number of academic departments. Our curriculum includes from five to 10 courses with African content, on both the undergraduate and graduate level, in any given semester. Our most basic course is African Studies 101, Introduction to African Studies, offered every year by members of the Committee (see ASA, Directory of African And AfroAmerican Studies in the United States, 1976).
Before beginning, I should offer some reflections on my background and African experience. My undergraduate training was in English, and upon graduation in 1963 1 went to Nigeria as a teacher of English with the Peace Corps. I taught for 15 months in a secondary school in Ibadan. During this time I participated in an intensive 8-week course in Yoruba language and culture sponsored by the Peace Corps. It was this, I think, that gave me my first awareness of an anthropological perspective; in any case, it immeasurably improved my classroom performance, since all my students were Yoruba. In January of 1965 I left my teaching post to work full-time, still with the Peace Corps, as Ethnographer ("without portfolio") with the Federal Department of Antiquities under the Department's late Director, Kenneth C. Murray. In order to satisfactorily complete certain projects to which I was assigned, I extended my Peace Corps tour of duty by one year. My association with Murray and the nature of my duties for the Department made me decide that in order to pursue African Studies properly I needed bona fide training in anthropology, and in September 1966 1 entered the graduate program at Northwestern Univer-
sity and studied under the tutelage of Ethel Albert, Paul Bohannan, and Ronald Cohen. My dissertation reserach was also conducted in Nigeria, this time in the Northeast, largely in that portion of Adamawa Province which is now Gongola State, from September 1969 through March 1971. My dissertation was defended in 1973. I returned to Nigeria, to both Yorubaland and Adamawa, in the summers of 1974 and 1976, each time for a six-week period. So my total African experience has been Nigerian; I made a vicarious acquaintance with other areas through reading and research.
I would like to divide this presentation into three major sections,
following the guidelines suggested by Bill Lye, the organizer of these panels on teaching about Africa: l)the evolution of my present approach to the teaching of African anthropology, 2) some of the more significant "problems" I have encountered in offering such a course to American undergraduates, and 3) the readings I have found most satisfactory.
I first taught such a course eight years ago. I adopted a "traditional cultural systems" approach, according to the following general outline of topics (names in parentheses refer to authors of principal works):
1. African physical geography and ecology
2. Lower Pleistocene hominid evolution through the various stages of
3. Human ecology and Sahlins' band-tribe-chiefdom-state-scheme
4. The rise and decline of the great states and empires
5. Culture areas (Herskovits)
and discussions of anthropological perspectives on the following traditional cultural institutions:
6. Language (Greenberg)
7. Social organization, kinship and marriage (after the British social
8. Non-kin associations and social networks (Little, Barnes, Mitchell) 9. Political systems: centralized vs. "acephalous" (Fortes and EvansPritchard, Middleton and Tait)
10. Economic systems: sedentary/horticultural vs. nomadic/pastoral (Dalton,
11. Religious systems (specifically, how they correlate with socio-political
structures; Forde, Ray)
12. Art, music, and dance (Willett, Merriam, Hanna)
At this point (roughly nine weeks into the semester) reading assignements
ceased for about three weeks, allowing students time for research for their term papers, during which time I presented and discussed:
13. A "Pictorial ethnography" of Bachama, a riverine savannah kingdom
where I had conducted most of my fieldwork in 1969-71. 1 will discuss details of this shortly. Following this, for not much more than one week, we considered how the above cultural institutions were responding to pressures of
14. Social change and "modernization."
It was a traditional cultural systems approach, the convenient "ethnographic present" being as close a representation of the "traditional" period as possible.
So it went for two or three years, until I came to realize what I now regard as my greatest error: this was not accurate, this was not Africa. What I was doing was presenting apicture of the colonial period, as colonial anthropologists had seen it. Even my discussion of social change and modernization was presented from a traditional theoretical anthropological view. During my anthropological training I had come to realize that there are two cultural realms of "reality," and one does not always conform to the other: the "real" and the "ideal." I had unwittingly opted for the latter, and had further idealized it by presenting it as it had been filtered through my own distorted perception. Like the late Life-photographer Eliot Elisofon, I had removed the plastic sandals, the Bic pens, the enamel pots and-pans, the woolen suiting material, the eyeglasses without lenses, the Roy Rogers belt buckles, and other selected objects of Western manufacture.
And perhaps most glaringly, I, from my traditional anthropological viewpoint, was totally ignoring the unique phenomena of the rapidly growing African cities, even the traditional urban centers such as those of the Yoruba. I had lived for three years, on and off, in Ibadan. I had seen and photographed the hustle and bustle of urban life--but the stench of the Dugbe market still clung in my nostrils. This was not the picture of Africa I wanted to present to my students, and so, as in some of Robert Gardner's films, I stripped off the present-day realities and presented Africa as I, an anthropologist trained in the investigation of traditional cultural systems, wanted to present it.
What I was presenting was a sort of butterfly-collecting series of
exotica. I was trying to entertain my students, trying to show them that, yes indeed, there are still people who live like this (this, of course, is the polar opposite of the picture Africans would like to present). And I could justifiably have been charged with arguing for a "noble savage" view a la Henri Rousseau--and, I must add, it is precisely this view which many regard anthropologists as promulgating, even today.
I recall a conversation 11 years ago with Peter Gutkind, while I was
still a graduate student at Northwestern and I was his teaching assistant for
a special summer session on African Studies for high school teachers, funded by the NDEA. I don't remember the words he used, but they had something to do with the fact that the time is long since past for us to turn our attention from the uniqueness of some isolated hilltop society, to what is happening in Africa today.
I don't know exactly when it happened, but sometime during the past four or five years I drastically revised my course outlines, recognizing the necessity of somehow combining the two Africas. Perhaps, better, the three: the still rural, kinship-based; the transitional; the modern and elite. That was a challenge. It wasn't easy any more. It wasn't neat, and cut-anddried. But it was, and is, vital.
So I first tried both at once, following the same basic outline as discussed above, in the same order, e.g.:
Kinship, traditional and changing
Traditional Political systems, vs the current
Traditional economic systems, vs. how cash-cropping and the money
economy is being adopted and adapted, as Africa moves into the world
Traditional religious systems vs. the incursion of Islam and the
development of the new "African churches"
But that didn't work. It didn't work because culture, particularly a traditional African culture, is a system, and I was fragmenting the system even further than I had done in my earlier course designs. Primarily, I suppose, because of constraints placed on us by the nature of our language, it is impossible to convey the notion of total system without fragmenting it, but the fragments must be presented in such a way that they can finally be seen to fall together, into a functionally integrated whole. This approach did not allow for such consolidation.
So the system which I have evolved, which I now think works, is to
attempt to present the traditional African cultural patterns in the order presented above (that is, units 1 and 5-12; I have deleted 2-4 because my University has courses in African history, and because I also realized that I was trying to do too much) in a systemic fashion, for something less
than one half the semester; then to present my "pictorial ethnography," discussed in detail below; then to follow the same systems, as they undergo change, for the balance of the semester.
During this process of the evolution of my course I learned that my more than three thousand field pictures, both color slides and black-andwhite photographs, taken during my 1969-71 field work in Adamawa, could be very effective teaching devices. I turned many of my black and white prints into slides, simply by photographing them with film designed for tungsten light, and I have now what I consider to be a nearly complete "visual ethnography" of a single, but in many ways representational, society: Bachama, a riverine
savannah kingdom of farmers, fishers and hunters along the upper Benue River.
I have organized my Bachama slides into units, each accompanied by a descriptive lecture, some accompanied by tape recordings, to be presented over a three-week period in the following order:
1. Geography and ecology
2. Representative peoples of the area (Adamawa is one of the most
ethnically heterogeneous areas in the entire continent.)
3. Aspects of the institution of kingship (Bachama regard the kingship
as their most important cultural institution: they refer to is
as "hubo vurato" --"The calabash of the world")
4. The royal musicians
5. Lay musicians
6. Song and dance
7. Economic activities:
B. domestic activities: weaving, pottery, building, thatching, fencing
and mat-making, brewing beer, etc.
C. men's fishing
D. canoe making
E. arts and crafts
F. hippopotamus hunting
8. Religion, a broad category, including the ritual recitation of myth
shrines to the gods and ancestors; a first fruits ceremony, for the
harvest of Guinea-corn; social and cosmological dimensions of the
sport of wrestling (two wrestling festivals are held, one following
the harvest, the second shortly before the first rains; these are
connected with fertility); funerals and "second burials";,o
the major, society-wide festival, marking the beginning of the year
and the agricultural cycle.
9. The joking institution, reflective of social relationships over a number
of categories of persons throughout the society (this was the basis
for my dissertation)
10. Modernization and development, including:
A. new educational facilities
B. the Christian church
C. the "new elite"
D. the impact of industrialization, in the form of the Savannah Sugar
This is fairly complete (the only thing I truly regret lacking is a slide set showing an entire marriage process), and it succeeds admirably in "bringing to life" many of the concepts discussed earlier, and in presenting a specific culture as a dynamic, functionally integrated system. Further, no readings are
assigned during this period, providing the students with time (which they are stongly urged to usel) to pursue their individual research projects.
General problems I have encounted are similar to those which arise
in most introductory anthropology courses. The most basic problem lies in conveying the concept of culture as a systemic model for living, the concept of "a separate reality" (to borrow from Castaneda; no matter whether he is better as an anthropologist or as a storyteller, I like his phrase). I try to present culture as a dynamic system, and in so doing I try not to depend on the old functionalist models but to up-date the concept through introduction of a simple bit of general systems theory.
Important specific problems are three:
1) Appreciation of what I have called a "total cosmological philosophy," stressing recognition of the limitations of our own linear, scheduling, timeoriented, pigeon-holing B-must-follow-A mode of thinking in our need to understand (to acutally experience is extremely difficult for Western-bred thinkers) a systemic perception of the cosmos and man's place in it. In this effort I have found useful some of the concepts of the much-maligned Lucien Levy-Bruhl; also of use are Robert Lystad's paper, "Traditional African Values," and some of the writings of Robin Horton.
2) Religion as total cosmology. The diagram below illustrates this concept.
witches, and 1. natural "forces
(the horizntal dimension")
Originally designed for my courses in the anthropology of religion, this diagram is particularly applicable to traditional--and modernizing--
African religious systems. Western approaches to the study of religion, and especially to Christian proselytizing, have focused upon what I call the vertical dimension: beliefs in agencies along the horizontal dimension have been either ignored or relegated to "superstition." Traditional African religion does not so separate the two dimensions (I have not drawn a line around them because I do not want to have to explain a resemblance to the "cosmic egg" of the Dogont).
This discussion should also stress the fact that whereas Western society tends to compartmentalize religion, assigning its formal observance to a specific place and time, African religions cannot be studied in isolation from the various cultural institutions for which they provide sanction.
3) The importance of kinship networks. It is difficult for a mobile neolocally-oriented, ruggedly individualistic American to appreciate the African's consideration of himself as primarily a participant in a kinship system, a network that operates according to the principle of mutual interdependendence of its members.
Some less important specific problems I have encountered may be simply
listed: the size of Africa (it is impressive for students to be able to place a map of the continental United States onto a map of Africa two and one half times without overlap), and the dangerof generalizing about "Africans;" understanding'hcephalous," particularly "segmentary," political systems; and obstacles to directed social change and "development" engendered by specific cultural adaptations to different ecological environments.
My current selection of reading materials is the result of trial and error over the past several years. I have tried monographs, readers, surveys, BobbsMerrill reprints, novels. I have dismissed many, e.g. Elliott Skinner's reader, as too specialized for beginning undergraduates. My current curriculum is a combination of these.
Most of my students have little or no familiarity with anthropological
concepts and jargon. These are discussed in class when they arise; to provide a more permanent framework I begin each weeks' reading assignments with selections from Bohannan and Curtin's Africa and Africans. During the first half of the semester, ethnographic illustrations are provided by Lucy Mair's African Societies. I consider Benjamin Ray's African Religions to be the best of the surprisingly small selection of quality work on African religion available; the first five chapters, which deal with traditional systems, are assigned at the appropriate place in the first half of the semester, and the remaining three chapters, discussing religion in social change, are assigned later. Because I strongly share Max Gluckman's observation that the study of witchcraft reveals subtleties of social organization, and because I feel that no discussion of African relgion treats this phenomenon in adequate depth, I assign three papers in the Bobbs-Merrill reprint series: Gluckman, "The Logic of African Science and Witchcraft" (B-M A-87); Krige, "The Social Function of Witchcraft" (B-M A-134); Wilson, "Witch Beliefs and Social Structure" (B-M A-243).
Up until now themajority of reading assignments for the second half of the semester have been made from John Middleton's Black Africa: Its Peoples and their Cultures Today. My students have responded most enthusiastically to this book. It is a great pity that Macmillan has allowed it to go out of print. I do not know what I shall use in place of it; I would welcome suggestions. And I would urge any of you who share my sentiments to write to Macmillan urging them to bring it back.
During the final two weeks of the semester I assign Achebe's Things Fall Apart.
Students' term projects deal with a particular social phenomenon as
it obtains or operates in three societies; the only requirement is that these three societies must manifest distinctly different ecological adaptations or socio-political structures. Ethnographic data are obtained from a reading list of anthropological monographs compiled by myself.
In conclusion I would like to say that I feel honored to have been asked to share all this with you, and I hope it is of some help.
Author's note: As well as to offer comments on my presentation, discussants were invited to discuss the applicability of certain
of their own publications to courses on African anthropology. These proceedings unfortunately were not tape-recorded, and at the time of
presentation the participants were not aware of plans for publication
of their comments. I am grateful to Professors Gibbs and Kuper for
setting down these reflections some weeks following the panel.
Professor Mary Douglas was also scheduled as a discussant, but she
was unable to attend.
James L. Gibbs, Jr.
The nature of an introductory course is dependent partly on the nature of the materials available with which to teach it. In my brief remarks I would like to describe the rationale behind the African studies textbook that
I designed and edited, Peoples of Africa, assess the experience that instructors have had with it, and say something about one kind of textbook that is needed for the near future.
The original edition of Peoples of Africa was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1965. Planning for the book had begun in 1961. As most of you know, the book consists of profiles of fifteen representative African cultures (or "tribal groups" as I called them in 1965), each written by the anthropologist who had done fieldwork in that culture. Each of these chapters has a brief introduction by me, pointing out and commenting upon some of the main themes contained in that chapter.
My basic rationale for the construction of the book was that a symposium
of this sort should facilitate inductive learning, moving from the particular to the general, that it should ease the student's access to more specialized writings on the same cultures, and that it should be flexible--usable by instructors whose courses might be organized in many different ways. Keep in mind that Peoples of Africa was planned at a time when the post-World-WarTwo expansion of African studies was still underway, stimulated by the multiple move to independence in the early 60's. At that time, the most widely used collection of readings was Ottenberg and Ottenberg's Cultures and Societies of Africa. Recall that the book consisted of a selection of specialized readings, reprinted from various sources, mainly journals, and a comprehensive introduction to African Studies. 'Peoples of Africa was designed to complement the Ottenberg and Ottenberg volume which is now out of print. Therefore, Peoples did not contain an over-all introduction to Africa and African studies, and the cultures selected to profile were chosen to some extent because more specialized papers about them were contained in Qttenberg and Ottenberg (e.g. the Tiv of Nigeria). It was expected that students would read a profile of a particular culture in the Gibbs volume and, with this as background, then read the related specialized paper in Ottenberg and Ottenberg. And read it in a more informed way.
The second criterion for including cultures in Peoples was that of-providing representative coverage of geographical regions, major types of social organization and major language families. Most of the groups selected were from English-speaking areas because the specialized literature on them is more accessible to American students, the group for whom Peoples was designed. Francophone Africa was under-represented and Portuguese-speaking Africa was omitted altogether. One reviewer complained that the "Afrikaner tribe" was omitted.
The profiles themselves were written to an outline I developed in
consultation with the contributors in order to provide uniform topical coverage of the basic aspects of each traditional ethnic society. The parallelism of the topical coverage is one of the features that instructors have commented upon most favorably. And it is the feature whose retention most strained the editor's relations with his contributors. Within the framework of uniform topical coverage each contributor was free to treat the topics in whatever sequence seemed appropriate and, of course, to use his or her own style. I notice that Phil Stevens uses Mair's African Societies as one of the texts of his course. I find Peoples a more suitable text because its cultural profiles are more complete and more comparable than those in the Mair volume.
The profiles were written in the "ethnographic present" of the late 1950's and contained a section on "change" describing the impact of economic changes such as the introduction of cash crops and political developments such as the development of political parties. Peoples was designed for a course in which the primary focus was on the nature of the traditional African Societies and cultures. Detailed study of the modernization of those cultures would come in a later course, it was presumed.
Peoples of Africa has been well-received, reviews were favorable, and the book has been steadily used for fourteen years now. The most frequent complaint over the years has been that, since the book was available only in hardcover it had become too expensive to assign as a second text. In response to this concern an abridged, paperback edition of Peoples, containing the profiles of nine cultures was published a few weeks ago.
The decision to move to an abridged edition and which cultures to include in it was based in part on the analysis of responses to a survey of a sample of instructors who had adopted Peoples of Africa as one of the texts for their course. Their descriptions of their courses indicate the way in which teaching about the anthropology of Africa has changed since Peoples was designed 17 years ago. Most instructors, like Phil Stevens, now put greater emphasis on development and modernization than on the traditional dimensions of society. Correspondingly,. the kind of textbook that is needed has changed. There is a need for readers like Elliott Skinner's Peoples and Cultures of Africa and John Middleton's Black Africa: Its Peoples and Their Cultures Today, both of which I use in my own course. At the same time, there continues to be a need for a text like Peoples of Africa that provides students with reasonably brief, yet well-rounded profiles of particular African peoples. But, as I shall suggest below, the content of those profiles should be different.
It is still important for students to develop a sense of the holism of African socieites and of their variety. Moreoever, deriving what is to be learned from reading the papers about particular aspects of African societies that are reprinted in readers like those of Skinner and Middleton assumes some knowledge of the particular society as a whole, something that can be imparted more efficientiy through reading than through lectures. Hence, the continued need for a book like Peoples.
In light of these changing patterns of teaching of African anthropology, I am beginning to plan for a completely revised edition of Peoples of Africa. In a revised edition, I would make changes in the conceptualzation of the book, partly in response to instructors' comments in the sample survey I mentioned earlier. I would want to see a stronger sense of history, to help the readers to understand that change is not new in Africa and did not
begin with the 19th century carving up of Africa into European colonies. This might require that each profile be written by an historian and an anthropologist. I would also like the profiles to provide a better sense of how each culture! ethnic group is integrated into the national society of which it is a part. This will require more material on economic patterns-andon political developments.
The consequences of world economic patterns on the local level should be noted too, since many instructors are taking note of dependency theory in organizing the content of their courses. Perhaps profiles should have the collaboration of several social scientists, an economist and political scientists as well as an anthropologist and historian. That may not be practicable, but the conceptual issues that lead me to suggest the possibility must be handled in a different manner than in the 1965 edition. In short, in a new edition, profiles of African peoples should provide more contextualization in history and in nation and region. In doing this, account must also be taken of recent theoretical emphasis such as network theory.
Let me make a few comments about Phil Stevens' presentation. Like Hilda Kuper, I am impressed by the scope of his course. And I agree with the goals he has set for it. However, I, too, wonder whether he may not be attempting to do too much in one term. I find that it takes longer to cover the same material when one uses the inductive approach. While I am a firm believer in the case method, I think it may be misleading to provide so much material on one culture. Will students have a tendency to generalize from that culture to all of sub-Saharan Africa?
Moving to another point, why is the visual material introduced so late in the course? Any course on Africa is strengthened by using visual material since so few students have first-hand experience with that continent and so much of what they see on television is not representative. Wouldn't it be good to introduce the visual material earlier to gain maximum benefit from it?
Unfortunately, I destroyed the notes I had made during Phil Stevens' presentation. The comments I am making are mainly my recollections of my reaction to his carefully worked-out syllabus.
I do remember that among my suggestions were the following: in an introductory course he was right to emphasize the necessity to make the students realize that we are dealing with people, having the complexities of all people-love and hate, responsibilities, fears, etc. --but that we are looking at and interpreting the lives of these people not as journalists but as anthropologists using the techniques of our discipline, looking for systems within the structure and norms in the behavior, as well as individual variations and idiosyncrasies. It is necessary to abstain from jargon and at the same time be careful in our selection of terms which are part of the equipment of our trade. These should be used with precision and serve a definite purpose.
The way in which he organized his lectures with the-slides between the major sections seems to me a fine way to bridge a more general problem, one which we all face: how to convey the process of change not as a steady chronological development, but as something uneven, irregular, and reshaping relations in ways not always predictable. Some of us have struggled with this problem which is the reality of modern life in Africa--and elsewhere--the interplay of different cultures, the persistence of certain customs, the
process of selective borrowing, the awareness that we are not dealing with closed systems, particularly at the present time with changes constantly coming in from outside. I am not sure whether I spoke of the weakness of looking at change as a continuum or even in terms of Redfield's model of the little community and
the rural-urban contrasts. The people in the society move more easily across boundaries than a Western observer might think. It is, however, necessary to distinguish between incorporation of material goods and changes in ideology and organization. Obviously, in a first-year course the subtleties cannot be developed but the problems should be posed.
I suggest that it is necessary to use more than one case history, and
stress the vastness and diversity of Africa. It is because of this that I sometimes use a more structured approach, presenting cases selected by the way in which people relate to the land, e.g. hunters and gatherers, pastoralists agriculturalists, etc. I also indicate complexity (which is not equivalent to progress) and conflict as part of the process. I find Jim Gibbs' book Peoples of Africa useful for this approach though longer monographs with a holistic emphasis are more interesting. Case histories edited by the Spondlers fulfill this requirement to some extent. I have tried to get students to move beyond the case history to other data on the same people. The other data may be in larger ethnographies or in films or plays. In some respects anthropology uses the material of drama in a specialized way, but our material,
like that of writers of fiction, is selected from the drama of living within a particular setting. We can get a great deal of insight from the humanities as well as from the perspective of other social sciences. In a one-quarter course, it may help to direct students to take related courses so that "the anthropology of Africa" is not an isolated body of exotica. Anthropology to me is an eclectic study of mankind in which we have developed a number of approaches from our focus of microcosms. But our methodology is limited; we should admit our biases and try to be honest with ourselves in considering what we are trying to do. In South Africa part of my expressed aim was to try to make the students both more tolerant and more aware, and this applied to whites, blacks, and Asians. I think this is part of my feeling for the general value of anthropology.
I am very much impressed by Phil's commitment to anthropology as a discipline with a social purpose.
TEMPORARY ADDRESS FOR REVIEW EDITOR
Tom O'Toole, currently on leave to conduct research in Central African Republic under a Fulbright-Hays grant, writes that he will have plenty of room for travelling guiests during April, May and June. His address:
U.S. Embassy Bangui
Central African Republic
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Max Williams of Western Carolina University is handling the Bulletin book review section in the interim.
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF AMERICA
by James E. Lyons
(In a recent issue of the Bulletin Professor Tom O'Toole characterized the University Press of America as a "demand-cum-vanity" press (VOl. VII, #1 p. 43). The Managing Editor of UPA, James E. Lyons, took exception to this characterization and at his request has been granted space to clarify the press' nature and purpose.)
Over the last several years, the University Press of America has moved rather dramatically into the first rank of publishers with major Africana listings. Such authors as Lemarchand, Vilakazi, Uchendu, Potholm, Olorunsola, Shaw, Anglin andMowoe added their works to UPA's already extensive collection of works dealing with Africa. The concentration on African material, including history, politics, ethnicity, linguistics, geography, religion and philosophy, gives the Press a broad spectrum of books designed to advance our knowledge of the continent.
Created quite literally by academics, for academics, the Press feels that it brings to the publishing industry a host of advantages in dealing with such multifaceted and continuously changing subjects such as Africa. By adopting a standard book format and by greatly speeding up the publication process and bringing the author directly into the editorial and marketing processes, University Press of America can provide the academic community with high quality materials by publishing in runs of as many as several thousand copies and as few as 150.
Moreover, the editorial board and staff of the Press is committed to the usual scholarly and editorial standards, but feels in fairness to its authors that judgements about these qualities should not exceed three months. Manuscripts not accepted for publication are returned to their authors with full explanation, including recommendations where a continuing interest exists.
UPA has no editorial bias toward any particular viewpoint or ideology and welcomes scholarly works which present a wide variety of different points of view. The inherent richness of Africa, the diversity of its people and the importance of socialism, marxism, capitalism and both nationalism and Pan Africanism demand that those interested in understanding the realities of the African experience be able to turn to books of high quality which capture the essence of the current trends on the continent and the historical antecedents of those trends.
UPA welcomes the submission of manuscripts relating to the African experience (and by extension to those dealing with the black diaspora and the Afro-American experience) and looks forward to expanding its already extensive offerings in this area. As we enter our sixth year of publication, University Press of America plans to continue its important emphasis on African materials and themes.
THE VALIDITY OF AFRICAN STUDIES IN AMERICAN EDUCATION:
THE SAA POSITION
by Roberta Dunbar
[Editor's Note: in November 1979 the much-hailed President's Commission on Foreign Lanugage and International Studies published its findings.* The report is not disappointing; nor does it include surprises. It is precisely what it
should have been--a strong, well-documented indictment of the public ignorance of and indifference to peoples and happenings beyond the continental U. S. which has spread alarmingly during the past decade. While recommendations from such commissions must eventually be expressed in dollars, the report 's budget request for $178 million in increased federal appropriations causes us to wish it weren't so. The satisfaction gained from having a catelogue of the sins of the seventies gives way to gloom as we measure this staggering dollar demand against the nation's current economic woes and ponder the budget's chances of support in Congress. We must nevertheless be encouraged by the fact that the commission's mere existence, and now its findings, have stimulated widespread discussion and a revived interest
in international education. The report's most formidable short term effect may, in fact, be its use by educators and concerned citizens as a bludgeon to drive local and national leadership to action.
The following statement prepared by Roberta Ann Dunbar, University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on behalf of the Southern Association of Africanists, was presented to the President's Commission at their Southeastern Regional Hearing, Raleigh, North Carolina, April 12-13, 1979. This statement details the concern
and recommendations of the Southern Association of Africanists for the future of African Studies.]
The Southern Association of Africanists welcomes this opportunity to present for your consideration a statement urging continued and increased support for African Studies in our public schools and institutions of higher education in the Southeast and other parts of the country.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s substantial funding from the Federal Government and the major foundations helped to institutionalize the study of Africa within disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs at several of the large American universities. Americans "discovered Africa" for the first time as many African territories moved towards and achieved their independence. By the early
* The commission report, published under the title of Strength Through Wisdom: A Critique of the U.S. Capabilities, should be required reading for all who have an interest in the future of international education. Copies are available for $3.00 (plus postage and handling; to be billed) from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2 Park Avenue, Room 1814, New York, NY 10016; (202) 689-8021. An assessment and summary of the commission' s principal recommendations may be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 1979.
1970s enough graduates of these programs had begun their professional careers
to inaugurate the study of Af rica in many universities and colleges where Af rica had never before been a subject of study. Also during this period some public school educators acknowledged the presence and legitimacy of African peoples and cultures in new social studies curricula frequently designed in cooperation with Africanists in nearby colleges and universities. While some considerable progress was made towards creating new materials for such public school courses their influence was felt primarily at the secondary rather than lower or middle school levels.
As other political priorities emerged in American society from the political upheavals of the late 1960s and early 1970s many of the graduate Centers and programs faced disastrous reductions in the amount and variety of external support. Graudate students and scholars found it more difficult or impossible to procure assistance for the costly but necessary field work in Africa. And in recent years the "back to basics" movement in our public schools has led to elimination of the so-called luxury courses, many of them on Africa and other "non-western" areas. A general assessment of the situation in public education would have to conclude that many of the gains made in the early and
middle years of the 1970s have been lost.
Now again the political and economic importance of international issues
has become a consideration of national policy. Issues arising from the politics of oil have also focused considerable attention on "third world" areas. New developments in our relationship with China and the implications for the United States of the struggles in Southern Africa and Iran for a new political order have reawakened the concern for a citizenry and academic community knowledgeable about the peoples and cultures of these areas. The sheer existence of the President's Commission on Foreign Lanugages and International Studies attests to that concern.
The Southern Association of Africanists welcomes the renewed interest in international education. The observations and recommendations below could as easily be made in reference to the study of Asia, the Middle East or Latin America. Our own training and experience however, leads us to focus on Africa. We affirm that African Studies programs are valuable avenues for achieving a fundamental understanding not only of the dynamics of international relationships between Africa and the United States and other industrialized nations but also of the legitimate aspirations of African peoples to guide their search for a better quality of life along lines consonant with African history and traditional institutions. Africa is perhaps the area of the world most seriously misrepresented not only by the media, but also by many of the textbooks in use in the schools. It is no longer the case that Africa is not being taught, increasingly it is being taught, but through the distortions of continuing stereotypes and misconceptions. While there are many ways in which American education can portray Africa we in African Studies believe that it behooves us politically and pedogogically to thoroughly understand the African perspective (which is not to say adopt it for our own) from the inside rather than as mere thirdd world" extensions of Euro-American political and economic activity.
To achieve such knowledge and understanding requires renewed encouragement and substantial support at the national policy level for
(1) research both in the field and at home on not only African issues
of social scientific, developmental import but also of humanistic
values and modes of expression;
(2) exchanges, formal and informal, between African scholars and
institutions and American ones;
(3) training at the graduate level, including training in African
(4) the retention or development of courses on Africa as necessary components of the education of students in our colleges and universities;
(5) opportunities for public school teachers, especially those who did
not have the choice of such study during ,their training, to enrich
their own knowledge of Africa through graudate study in summer
or year long programs, and travel to Africa;
(6) exposing elementary and middle school children to aspects of
African culture enabling them to recognize similarities as well
as differences from our own;
(7) maintenance and development of the study of Africa in secondary
(8) continued development of culturally sensitive materials in print
and non-print media for all levels of instruction.
In conclusion we believe that the study of Africa enhances American education in several ways. As individuals we become sensitized to our own ethnocentrisms and emerge better prepared to exist in a culturally divers American society. Secondly, the signficance of Africa's contribution to American culture is rendered more comprehensible by appreciating the heritage and linkages between that continent and Afro-Americans, our largest minority population. For most Americans, both black and white, the realization that the African past does include signficant achievements and is not the bleak
wasteland of the media stereotype of ten leads to a respect f or the Af rican heritage that can only serve to improve relations between the races in our own country. Finally, an understanding of African values, institutions and history may enable us as communities and nations to identify new patterns of cooperation as we strive for a world community, drawn closer together by modern communications in which all people will have the opportunity to fulfill their greatest potential.
NOTES FROM THE MEDIA EDITOR
In this issue I've included reviews of four works which might find
use as texts. These are followed by reviews of two literary critiques. Then two more specialized historical works on West Africa follow. A review of an important work on urbanization in West Africa and one on the history of East African education come next. Three more specialized studies follow. The first two of these focus on law in Africa and the third on disease in African history. The section concludes with a filmstrip review and another possible teaching aid, a handbook of African names.
New reviewers who wish to focus on the pedagogical implications of works in African and Afro-American studies are always welcome. Your comments are solicited.
Politics in Africa. By Dennis Austin. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England for the University of Rhode Island, 1978. 161 pp., $12.50 cloth, $6.50 paper. Review by Sandra Wurth-Hough, East Carolina University.
The latest book on the politics of Africa by Dennis Austin, Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, England, is derived from a series of lectures delivered at the University of Rhode Island.
Written essentially for those without previous knowledge of the continent, the six chapters are held together by the author's continuing search for
explanations of how contemporary African governments: (1) acquire and maintain authority, (2) use the structures of power, and (3) adapt to their own purposes the practices of their former colonial states. A general theme evident also is the continuing persistence of the colonial state in contemporary politics.
A general outline is provided in Chapter 1, "The Fallacies of Hope," a title reflecting the optimistic but often misconceived assumptions of the early independence period. Austin examines Africa's diverse hopes under four headings: those beliefs held by colonial powers as independence approached, the goals of early party leaders, the experiences of the general population (the most disappointing category), and the African states' historical experiences involving the centralization of structures and power since independence.
Most of the book, however, is devoted to discussions of the politics
of postwar developments through regional surveys of the African West (Chapter 2, "No Longer at Ease"), East (Chapter 3, "E Pluribus Plures"), Central (Chapter 4, "The Middle Zone"), and South (Chapter 5, "White Power: Cohesion
Without Consensus"). Descriptions of the regional disunities, inequalities of wealth and power, and dependence on nonregional forces, as well as rationales for many events occurring since the end of the colonial era, are provided. Austin notes explicitly and implicitly that Africa's failures are more evident than its successes, although an effort to balance the record is made continuously.
For this reviewer, the most revealing analyses were in Chapters Five and Six. Recognizing that South African political transmutations will affect not only the reshaping of the southern part of the continent, but all of Africa, Austin explores this "strange and wicked country-anachronistic and atavistic" (p. 109) and its revolutionary potential. That revolution, of course, will be a product of undetermined but appropriate amounts of antagonisms or pressures originating under the encompassing categories of nationslism, racism, economics, and international influences.
Chapter Six ("The Darkling Plain: Literature and Politics") analyzes
African politics through the eyes of its novelists and poets. Reflecting in microcosm the continent itself, these writers and writings swing from disquiet to despair, to an almost total rejection of the politics of independence all the while mirroring the socio-political discontent in its evolution.
Politics in Africa is an outstanding, comprehensive study. 2It is
exceptionally well written and up-to-date. Clarifying many confusions evident in African politics, it could serve as an introductory level textbook for high school or lower division college students. It is invaluable as a review of contemporary African politics and history for upperclass students and specialists in the field.
1Hsbooks include Politics in Ghana, 1946-1960 (1964), Britain and South Africa
(1966), Commonwealth in Eclipse (1974), and Ghana Observed (1976), among others.
2 The work includes 161 pages of text, six pages of selected bibliography of the more readable books in African politics, twenty-seven pages of Notes, and an Index.
History of West Africa Since 1800. By Elizabeth Allo Isichei. New York: Africana. Publishing Company, 1977. x + 380 pp. Review by Leland C. Barrows, Voorhees College.
The author, Dr. Elizabeth Allo Isichei, is a seasoned historian but
unlike her other books, this one is a textbook which she freely admits is a 'conventional history"~ for a conventional purpose: the preparation of secondary students in Anglophone West Africa for the modern West African
history sessions of the WAEC examinations. It covers the usual topics that are covered in one-volume histories of West Africa from 1800 to the present.
Having briefly sketched the geographical, economic, political, social, religious, and historical setting in 1800, Dr. Isichei proceeds to describe the historical evolution of major West African societies, polities, and regions. She begins first by examining the principal jihadist state-building activities in the sudanic zone of Uthman dan Fodio, Al-Kanemi, Mallam Dendo, Ahmadou Lobo, El Hadj Omar, Maba Diakhou and several others. The statebuilding careers of Samori and Rabih she presents in a later section of her book in the context of African resistance to colonial intrusion.
Turning to the forest and coastal zones, Dr. Isichei describes the breakup of the Oyo Empire into a number of warring Yoruba polities. She examines the interactions of the Ashanti, the Fanti, and the British and the evolution of Dahomey, Benin, and the smaller polities of the Niger Delta and the Igbo interior north and east of the delta.
In all the societies which Dr. Isichei examines, she stresses the common theme of reform, innovation, and change which she maintains are to a very great extent a result of internal stimuli. She does not of course deny the importance of external stimuli. She is careful to describe and to give due credit to such factors as the growthof so-called legitimate trade as a substitute for the slave trade and the penetration of the West African interior by explorers and missionaries.
Indeed, the question of outside stimuli provides a useful transition to a discussion of the founding of Afro-European creole societies in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In her opinion, these societies would very early display the characteristics, both good and bad, of the westernized elites which would come into being all over West Africa during the colonial era. On the constructive side, she emphasizes the importance of the returned recaptives to their societies of origin as stimulators of westernization. Indeed, she provides several examples of pre-colonial modernization in West African societies.
For Dr. Isichei the colonial period was more tragic than useful. That the conquests occurred at all she attributes to the converging factors: the weakness and disunity of African societies and the increasing material strength and covetousness of European imperialists. The latter, she maintains, were as much searching for markets and unrestricted sources of raw materials as they were attempting to win strategic and political advantages over one another.
Dr. Isichei describes the colonial period in West Africa both in terms of the formal structures of European political and economic domination and the effects of colonial rule on African societies. Her balance sheet is conventional as well as mixed although firmly weighted towards anti-colonialism. Her account of the origins and the rise of West African nationalism is equally conventional.
Dr. Isichei brings her book to a conclusion with a discussion of the eras
of decolonization and independence. She emphasizes the experiences of Ghana and Nigeria but is more ambiguous in dealing with French West Africa. Her ambiguity, however, parallels the ambiguity of the Francophone leaders themselves as they prepared for the crucial transition.
Much of the author's treatment of the economic and social history of
colonial and post-colonial West Africa deals with various facets of underdevelopment. She sees the root of the problem as a legacy of the slave trade and of colonialism. But she is also as critical of the habits of conspicuous consumption of the West African elites as she is of what she perceives as the rapaciousness of the expatriate trading firms and the strings attached to economic aid offered by both East and West.
At the start of her book the author warns the reader that she wrote it under pressure, "... to meet a publisher's deadline while still doing justice to (her) varied duties as a university teacher... ." Unfortunately, a certain roughness in the syntax, a few editorial lapses, defects of organization, contradictions--all serve to make this pressure apparent. Unlike her other books, monographs on fairly narrow topics and at least one biography, this one lacks polish. Indeed, her treatment in it of modern French-speaking West Africa is superficial. On the other hand, the books' overall plan of organization and the way in which its author has combined thematic discussion with a case-study approach are decided pluses as are her eye for illustrative detail and her inclusion of new material and the anecdotes. The beginner in West African history will be pleased with the thirty-one sketch maps and the numerous illustrations which Dr. Isichei has placed throughout the book. Specialists, however, will note the absence not only of footnotes but also her failure, in most cases, to cite by name the authors whom she has quoted or paraphrased.
It is nevertheless this reviewer's opinion that if supplemented with appropriate outside readings History of West Africa since 1800 would serve as a very good basic textbook for a college survey course in modern West African history.
Living Together in Africa (Book One). By Mazi R. Ofeogbu. Buffalo, New York: Conch Magazine, Ltd., 1972. $2.00. Review by Marcia Texier Segal, Indiana University Southeast.
Because the political geography and social realities of African life have been in flux in the 1970s, any work published in 1972 will be dated in some respects. If the work makes an important scholarly contribution, or clarifies issues for students or lay audiences, information which is no longer accurate can be ignored or changed. However, when the basic purpose of a work is to provide an overview of an area, the fact that it is seven years old is a serious drawback.
The analyses which are not dated are rather flat. Ofoegbu describes the Nigerian Civil War and Ruanda and Burundl for example, as if they happened in the movies--totally bloodless.
Coups and political differences in modes of government are ignored. Perhaps, from an African perspective Americans make too much of these aspects of political life, but Ofoegbu does not help us to see and evaluate the differences.
The best part of the booklet is the discussion of Nsukka. It is presented clearly in appropriate detail--a fascinating case study which will remind students of communities of Small Town in Mass Society.
The other extended analysis, that of Ghana is an attempt to cram too much into too little space. The reader gets lost among the ethnic groups and constitutions.
The discussion of South Africa is adequate if bland. However, the information presented about Namibia and Zimbabwe is insufficient to assist the reader in understanding the headlines in the morning paper.
In addition to these substantive problems, the work is marred by numerous typographical errors and some clumsy diction which could have been remedied by the editor. In short, while the idea of a brief overview by an African scholar distributed at a reasonable price is an admirable one, this work falls short of its promise.
African Society, Culture and Politics: An Introduction to African Studies.
Edited by Christopher Mojekwu, Victor Uchendu, and Leo Van Hoey. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1977. Reviewed by Anita Spring and Art Hansen, University of Florida.
This book is intended for an introductory university class and aims to
be free of distortions, myths and cliches. It succeeds in many ways, although followers of Evelyn Rich ("Mind Your Language", Africa Report 1974, and "Mark My Word!", Africa Report, 1976) will dislike finding the words "tribe", "tribalism", "girl and man", and "bantu" in several articles. The book contains some serious introductory readings and is valuable for a sophisticated class. This review gives some detail as readers may want to consider it for adoption.
The volume has a two-fold division: 1) pre-industrial culture and the colonial experience and 2) sociopolitical processes in contemporary Africa. In the first division are articles onigeography, prehistory, kinship, law, colonialism and political systems. Van Hoey introduces Part One by considering the nature of African studies. His overly simplistic outline of "interactive
properties" which affect development is not very useful for the student. The following chapter on geography by Godfrey Ofomata is excellent. It brings together geology, climate, and vegetation with up-to-date information on types of farming, transportation, current resources and facts about political independence. Many of the maps are updates of George Peter Murdock's maps (Africa, 1959). John Bower's article on prehistory and culture is a good overview of human origins and the archeological record in Africa, although his discussion of the Iron Age is exceedingly brief.
Oliver Madu's chapter on kinship and social organization attempts an explanation of family types and marriage systems in outline form. Madu points out a most important distinction between traditional marriage and romantic love which is helpful for western students. Unfortunately, there are some errors in the article. 1) Matrilineal groups do not predominate in East but rather in Central Africa. 2) The discussion of bridewealth fails to mention its consequences for divorce. Furthermore, bridewealth is paid to the bride's family, not to the bride herself. 3) He says that polygyny engenders competition among wives which stabilizes marriage and reduces divorce rates. This is a cultural rationale rather than a social analysis. There are polygynous societies with both high and low rates of divorce. 4) He uses both polygyny and polygamy interchangeably which could confuse students. A glossary of terms is provided, and the article contains an excellent discussion of modern versus traditional marriage.
It is delightful to find a chapter on jurisprudence included in an introductory text because this topic is so useful for course work (especially in conjunction with such excellent filmic materials as "The Cows of Dolo Kem Paye"). Mojekwu's chapter is fascinating as it discusses traditional dispute settlement, legal processes, the overlay of British colonial law, and actual court cases based on the author's experiences as an attorney in Nigeria. His extremely interesting dispute settlement cases are specifically Igbo, but the description of the interaction of colonial and indigenous courts has widespread accuracy. A short follow-up article in Part Ii discusses the problems of nation building when laws are in conflict, i.e. when native courts and English courts operate concurrently and in the absence of a shared "legal ethos" (p. 196).
Raymond Betts provides a good overview of colonial policies and European views of Africans. His follow-up article in Part II outlines the major problems of nation building after decolonization. The final chapter in Part I on political systems by Christian Potholm lays the foundations for the problems involved in incorporating or ignoring indigenous politics in the modern situation.
Part II on Contemporary African includes articles on political integration modernization, women and oral art forms. The article by Janet Girder, Victor Olorunsola, and Gary Wasko examines various strategies used in African nation building. The kinds of political leadership andparties, ideology, bureaucracy, and military force used by Nkrumah and others in Ghana, Mobutu in Zaire and Nyerere in Tanzania provide interesting contrasts. This information gives the students concrete analyses of famous figures and their impact.
Bett's article on the process of decolonization and its impact on nationbuilding briefly provides some of the background to nationalism. He mentions negritude and African Socialism in passing; although these are tangential to the argument, they are not treated elsewhere in the volume. Mojekwu's article on the conflict of indigenous and colonial legal codes points out some problems faced by new nations. It puts some of the themes mentioned in the other articles into concrete reality in a form which is useful for students.
The volume contains two essays on women. Kamene Okonjo's discussion
expands on ideas and customs concerning marriage and the family (polygyny, bridewealth) which were mentioned by Madu. Bonnie Keller's and Edna Bay's article on African women and the problems of modernization, one of the best in the volume, is a review and summary article as well as a pedagogical one. Asking why it is necessary to write about women when an article about men's roles would appear ridiculous, they answer that unfortunately African women have been described as valuable commodities rather than political and economic beings who affect forces within society and proceed to detail these forces. The article sums up much of the recent literature concerning the undermining of traditional women's position by colonialists--whose own system did not include much participation by women in agriculture, politics and business. The final section considers contemporary responses and social problems connected with women's limited options in new African nations.
Hilary Okarn's discussion of oral literature outlines various modes such as prose narratives, dramas, poems, naming, and the allusions and imagery used in these literary forms. This chapter is useful in conjunction with novels or poems by African writers. In fact, it seems to be almost mandatory to supplement this volume with novels such as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Man of the People to give life to discussions about indigenous political systems and problems concerning modernization and various efforts along these lines which ties into the previous articles of Betts, Mojekwu, and Keller and Bay. The differences between modernization and westernization are explained so that students can distinguish industrialization, a process, from westernization, a political-cultural stance. Uchendu argues that European derived models are irrelevant to African societal transformations. Technologies aid economic growth, but it is the socio-cultural environment that allows the technologies to develop.
Although Part I does not include information on the slave trade and religious systems, and Part II lacks many topics relevant to contemporary Africa (e.g. economic data, Southern Africa), some very positive things can be said about the volume. It is interdisciplinary, about half the contributors are African scholars, and it combines contemporary Africa with historical and cultural materials. Students who used the book in a class entitled "The African Experience: An Introduction to African Studies", appreciated the African viewpoint of many of its contributors. For the most part, and according to a written survey taken, they found the book understandable and informative, but some remarked that the writing was pedantic. The articles on kinship, women, and law, were cited as particularly interesting. Most students thought the book gave them a basic background on Africa and the majority planned to keep the book, although some commented on its high price and that there was small print and no photographs.
Black Writers, White Audience: A Critical Approach to African Literature.
By Phanual Akubueze Egejuru. Foreword by Chukwuemeka Ike. Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press, 1978. Pp. 255. $12.50. Review by Patrick Greig Scott,
University of South Carolina.
This is a general book, largely about the African novel of the
ninteen-fifties and sixties. Unlike the majority of such general surveys (which, in an anxiety to be fair to all authors, tend to a sub-critical blandness), this one has a strong thesis to argue, and for the most part eschews the common vice of plot-summary for a lively debate over the wider sociological issues involved in the writing, publication, and critical reception of colonial and immediately post-colonial African literature. The author's thesis is simple and absolute: "the African novelist is not a free artist, because he is controlled in almost every respect of his writing by his audience. And of his African and European audiences, the latter exerts more influence over him in language, genre, subject, and partly through the control of publication" (p. 244). The separate chapters discuss each of these four kinds of European influence in detail, and Dr. Egejuru, assistant professor at S.U.N.Y. Brockport, analyses with healthy scepticism the claims of various noted African writers that they write for African readers; she is especially scathing about the externally-directed anthropological detail of the earlier novelists, and about what she sees as the artificially exotic language experiments of Gabriel Okara. Indeed, part of her argument seems to suggest that any self-consciously African content or style is likely to be a sign that the writer is looking over his shoulder at the audience of white critics; she makes little allowance for the role such literature has had in creating or recreating national consciousness for African readers, though she discusses the question in connection with Achebe's work. A strong point throughout the book is that it constantly draws comparisons between the ways rather different "metropolitan" audiences have affected African writers of French and English expression. A bold general argument is presented in the last chapter, where Georg Lukacs's Theory of the Novel is applied to Things Fall Apart and The Radiance of the King, to suggest that the novel genre itself is, in some way, intrinsically un-African, because of its emphasis on individual character separate from community, and that the most successful African 'novels' are really crypto-epics. Dr. Egejuru forces her thesis at some points, and her case is weakened because, though it is stated in the present, it lacks any discussion of novels later than 1970; much of the criticism drawn on or attacked is also from the early sixties, and none later than 1974. Nonetheless, if the book is considered as a discussion of the period 1945-70, it gives a useful comparative coverage, at least for West Africa, and Dr. Egejuru's very tenacity and abrasiveness in the pursuit of her thesis will be usefully provocative to anyone teaching African literature.
Librarians will wish to note that, in addition to its critical interest, the book has a special value as primary material: Dr. Egejuru includes in it her own interviews about the "audience question", conducted in 1972-74, with such major writers as Senghor, Achebe, Ngugi, Sembene, Camara Laye, Kane, and Mphahlele. Undergraduate students would need guidance in finding their way round the book to appropriate discussions of single texts and relevant interviews (teachers may need to make their own index), but the book can be recommended for any college library where there is African interest.
Critical Perspectives on Nigerian Literatures. Edited by Bernth Lindfors. Washington D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1976. $9.00 paper. Review by Dolores Smith, Virginia Commonwealth University.
According to the editors of the Critical Perspectives series, "the purpose of the works is to provide the teacher and student with the most important critical and historic commentary on major authors, themes, and national literatures of the non-western world." After reading Critical Perspectives on Nigerian Literatures, it can certainly be said that Bernth Lindors, a Professor of African and English literature at the University of Texas at Austin, is one of the most prominent critics in the field of African literature. His expertise and scholarship are once again witnessed in this enlightening book.
Lindfors, by collecting critical articles from both the African and
Western critics, offers his readers a complete view of Nigerian literature. Although all but one of the articles in this book can be found in Research in African Literatures, a journal also edited by Lindfors, there is a definite advantage to having them together in a separate collection which focuses in on one particular country's literature.
By dividing his book into two sections, Vernacular Literature and
Literature in English, Lindfors first covers the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa literatures and then presentsarticles that deal with the works of several major authors writing in English. He also includes essays on the various genres of literature such as the Yoruba Egungun Chants, Yoruba Popular Theatre, Hausa Poetry, Igbo Ritual, and Igbo Fiction with articles that address themselves to the contents or specific characteristics of these forms.
Many of the articles in the second part of the book are especially helpful to the non-African critic, teacher, or student as they clearly explain and place in proper perspective some of the mistaken ideas of the Westerner. Such articles as "Plagiarism and Authentic Creativity in West Africa" and "The 'Communistic' African and the 'Individualistic' Westerner" will definitely keep future Africanists from repeating many of the misconceptions of the past. For example, the author of the latter essay feels that generalizations about "the African mind" andAfrican society lead to a misreading of the works of African writers. He states that critics often make the contrasts between "communal" and "individualistic," "traditional" and "modern," "rural" and "urban," and "mystical attitude" versus "rational attitude" but "fail to understand the facts upon which the contrasts need to be based in order to be valid." His thesis is clearly illustrated and supported by his detailed analyses of Austin Shelton and James Olney's critical misreadings of Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel andAchebe's Things Fall Apart.
At the end of his book, Lindfors has also included an excellent
selected list of criticism and commentary offering Bibliographies on the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa literatures as well as critical articles on Nigerian literature in English. The essays, heavily footnoted from sources by experts in the field, likewise provide added material and references for the
reader. Such information is invaluable to the teacher and student of African literature.
As a student and future teacher of African literature, I feel that the book is a "must" not simply for scholars but for anyone interested in Nigerian literature. The work is definitely useful for research purposes, but I also feel that it would be an excellent tool to give a sense of closure in a Nigerian literature course once the students have become a bit familiar with the works dealt with in the articles.
Critical Perspectives on Nigerian Literatures is a credit to Bernth Lindfors and proves to be just as rewarding as his other works.
British Military and Naval Forces in West African History, 1807-1874. By Paul Mmegha Mbaeyi. New York: NOK publishers, 1978. $18.50. Review by Perry E. LeRoy, Morehead State University.
After research work in Great Britain, Mr. Paul Mmegha Mbaeyi returned to Nigeria, taking a position as Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The result has been the publication of a serious text which has traced the activities of the various British forces, land and naval, in the West African territories whicheventually became colonies. Indeed, the author successfully argues that the part played by individual regiments, whether British, West Indian, or local militias or police, prepared the way for the eventual years of outright imperialism. The power base was established between the years of 1807 and 1874, thereby insuring that later resistance would be a failure. Often, decisions were taken by local British commanders, who only later referred to London which on its part, did have several reversals of policy.
The author approaches his thesis by dividing his text into three chronological periods: the early years, the mid-century, and the years just preceding the imperialist surge of the late 1870s to 1914. All three periods in turn are treated by geographic zones including the Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast, and southern Nigeria. In every instance, we have an account of the part played by individual regiments, local British commanders and civilian leaders but an insufficient reaction by regional African leaders other than those chiefs who sought to resist. Mr. Mbaeyi, however, states that the chiefs accurately represented the attitudes of their peoples, but almost ignores the active part played by the Saros, with the exception of some information of complicated power plays at Lagos and nearby Yoruba competitors. Nor is there adequate coverage of the neighboring Moslem states with their interrelations, such as the situation which confronted Ibadan and Oyo.
On the other hand, the author has thoroughly digested the complications
of the Asante-Fante and coastal wars, their military formations and goals, in combination with the vacillations of the London policies, the needs at the forts, officials versus company needs, or other economic vested interests,
as well as the important differences in the changing technological-weapons areas, including land and sea.
Of interest, but not adequately demonstrated, were the attempts to
downgrade the part played by the missionaries and Christians in favor of the use of power or force. Actually, aside from defending missionaries, the British forces often gave encouragement to the implementation of actions against local sovereign states. More is needed to explain the part played by the Saros which has been documented, or for that matter, other converted
and often ex-slave populations. The author did indicate that these people often provided the recruits for the different military forces whereas non-Christian Africans were unwilling to enlist. Nor was sufficient attention given to the convicts and African reactions to them.
Among the strongest sections of the text are those dealing with the actions of individual military units, including the West Indian regiments and the tactics of regional civilian and military officers such as those who directed the steamer operations up the Gambia, against the French and local tribal states, as well as the gunboat policies of Captain John Glover at Lagos. Equally significant were the sections concerning Sierra Leone though there was little on neighboring Liberia. The examples cited tended to disprove any British claims that their military presence was only to defend vested interests. How else can one explain the raw aggressions at Lagos or the deceit used against the Fante? Valuable were the sections concerning the enlisting, equipping, and employment of both West Indian regiments as well as local militias, police and paramilitary units.
The author, however,, relied too heavily upon official British records and resulting publications. Hopefully, he might expand his initial study to include oral sources and other records which would reveal individual reactions by both participants whether officers or soldiers, and individual African reactions, not merely those of the chiefs, in other words, both the victors and the victims, as seen through their own eyes. Much work can yet be accomplished to show why and how Africans served in either British paramilitary and police units* including more details on "coloured" officers and non-commissioned soldiers.
Moreover, there are several weaknesses in the organization of the text, due to a lack of consistency in form. Why, for example, is there a summary for the Introduction and for Chapter IX but not for all the chapters? Why a conclusion for chapter 11 while the last chapter is really a summary of the book? In part, the text appears to have been the outgrowth of a dissertation not yet thoroughly digested.
Mr. Mbaeyi concludes with three Appendixes, the first being the
most informative as it contains a statistical examination of the different military units in the several future colonies on a yearly basis. The
statistics include the local militias, the West Indian regiments, the police and others. The second Appendix is a brief document on 1843 legislation while the last Appendix are instructions regarding naval units and deployments.
There is an excellent bibliography of published British records and secondary materials. In addition, following each chapter, the author provided several pages of footnotes.
British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950: A Nigeria View. By I.M. Okonjo New York: NOK Publishers, 1974. $18.50. Review by Donn M. Kurtz, II, University of Southw~estern Louisiana.
The author's stated intention is "to present an authoritative and objective history of British administration..." in Nigeria between 1900 and 1950. Following an introductory chapter in which the historical setting is outlined, Dr. Okonjo proceeds through most of the remaining nine chapters in chronological order. The first two of these are devoted to the North and to the South before amalgamation, with the remainder focusing on the British attempt to make amalgamation work by transferring Northern Nigeria's system of indirect rule to the south.
Okonjo' s study amounts to an indictment of the British in Nigeria for their inability to recognize the basic differences between the Southern and Northern provinces, their insistence on maintaining an administrative structure long past its usefulness, and their concern with protecting the interests of the North and its leaders. Acknowledging the indirect rule
was a realistic response by Lugard to the situation he encountered in Northern Nigeria in 1900, the author suggests that indirect rule itself was not so much the problem but rather the fact of its rationalization and institutionalization well beyond the time when it was needed and in areas where it was not suitable.
In this attempt to impose on the South an administrative system which might have had temporary value in the North, the British failed to deal adequately with a number of key issues; in particular, the structure of the judiciary, the appointment of warrant chiefs in the South, the power of Northern based British officials, and in the later period, the establishment of a legislative council for all of Nigeria. Two issues, the judiciary and warrant chiefs, are evidence of the British inability to appreciate the distinctive character of Southern Nigeria.
The British policy in the North of prohibiting appeals from native courts when applied to Southern Nigeria indicated a lack of understanding of the development of an educated Southern middle class not willing to be totally submissive to traditional law. The questions of Southern warrant chiefs was a manifestation of Britain's blind commitment to indirect rule and of her incomprehension of the nature of the traditional social and political
structure of Southern communities.
Perhaps the dominant theme permeating the study is the power of British administrators in Northern Nigeria. That power and the ability to impose the Northern point of view on all of Nigeria is the major criticism the author has of the British. In a sense, all other issues and problems stem from the fact that British personnel, and governors in particular (with two exceptions), either represented that Northern perspective or bowed to it.
Only under the administrations of Clifford (1919-1925) and Cameron
(1931-1935), the author argues, was a serious attempt made to turn British policy away from its pro-Northern stance and to have that policy reflect Southern realities. Clifford's recognition of the heterogeneity of Nigeria and Caerns attempt to find a place for educated Nigerians in the system stand in the author's mind as the only two highlights of the colonial period. Governor Bourdillon's expansion of the legislative council's jurisdiction to all of Nigeria was not actually a victory for the advocates of a united Nigeria, but rather a victory for the North which gained numerical parity with the South in the Council and also greater regional autonomy.
Dr. Okonjo provides his reader with a well organized account of
fifty years of British administration based on extensive archival research. The failure of the author to identify explicitly his general themes at the outset is bothersome, though the final chapter does succinctly conclude the book. In spite of Okonjo' s early admission that indirect rule was appropriate to Northern Nigeria, the weight of the author's arguments constitutes a severe criticism of the British, their administrative system, and their allies, the traditional elite. For readers who bear in mind this perspective, the book is a valuable addition to the literature in that it presents a less frequently heard point of view.
Urbanization and Social Change in West Africa. By Josef Gugler and William G. Flanagan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. $19.95 cloth $4.95 paper. Reviewed by Wilfrid C. Bailey., University of Georgia.
Much has been written about African cities and more will be written. Why read this one? Josef Gugler and William G. Flanagan have attempted the
very important task of pulling together information from a vast number of reports to formulate meaningful statements concerning urbanization and social change in West Africa. This is not an easy task for several reasons. First there is no universal set of characteristics to identify a city. "City" is a generic term and includes preindustrial trade and administrative centers, overgrown villages, colonial capitals, and modern centers that at first glance look like European cities. Second, the urban groups studied have been both recent migrants and long term residents and have a vast array of ethnic backgrounds. Thus, some of the controversy has its roots in trying to compare mangos, bananas and pineapples. The authors have had research experience in both East and West Africa. They first worked together on a survey of urbanization
and social change in East Africa. Gugler taught at Makerere University, Uganda, and carried out research in Nigeria. The authors did not limit themselves to the work of fellow sociologists and anthropologists but drew from other social sciences and the writings of West African novelists and playwrights.
West Africa is not only one of the poorest regions of the world but
is also one of the least urbanized. However, the pattern of urban centers may be the oldest in Africa. The primary function of West African cities continues to be administration, commerce, and transshipment. No truely industrial city has emerged. In spite of the fact that West Africa is still overwhelmingly rural, the cities are faced with population growth that has outstripped their economic base.
The analysis of West African cities begins with the early empires and
quickly moves to the modern era with chapters on urbanization and economic development, rural urban migration, townsmen and absent villagers, social relations in the urban setting, change, the family, position of women, and stratification and social mobility. Some of the chapters contain a several page case study reprinted to illustrate the topic under discussion. Except for the very brief accounts of some precolonial cities there is no discussion of individual cities. The book is about factors related to urbanism rather than a description of cities.
Efforts to improve the wages and living conditions produce a dilemma f or policy makers. Any improvement in urban conditions will also inhance the promise of urban living for a growing reservoir of potential migrants. Thus, any long range policy to solve the problem of over urbanization must also improve life chances in the rural area and reverse the trend toward marginalization of the rural regions. The authors make their final point in "Conclusion: The Incorporation of the West African Peasantry." Study of
urbanization and social change that fails to include the rural population obscures the impact that processes experienced in the cities are also felt in the rural area. Because resources have been disproportionately allocated to the urban sector, particularly the capital city, many frustrated peasants have taken three options. One is to vote with the feet. In parts of Upper Volta one-third of the men are away from their homes. Many are in the cities. A second is illustrated in Senegal where farmers dissatisfied with the marketing system have withdrawn from commercial peanut growing and returned to subsistence agriculture based on millet for their own consumption.
The third option was seen in the example of the peasant revolt of 1968 in Western Nigeria. The book ends on this theme of disappointment and a suggestion of anger.
This book by Ougler and Flanagan should be read by anyone interested in culture change in Africa. Many of the old stereotypes are shattered. My class notes on the subject must be rewritten. Any work on culture change must be up to date. This one is as current as publishing routine permits. It was published in 1978 'and the valuable and extensive bibliography contains items as late as 1976.
A History of Education in East Africa. By 0.W. Furley andTom Watson. New York: NOK Publishers, 1978. $16.50 cloth, $4.95 paper. Review by David E. Gardiner, Marquette University.
Between 1952 and 1972 O.W. Furley and Tom Watson were involved with
education and East Africa. Watson served as a colonial Education officer and both Furley and he taught at Makerere College in Uganda. They were thus able personally to witness the evolution of education during the last decade of colonial period and the first decade of national independence. Today Furley teaches African history at the Lancaster Polytechnic in Coventry, England, and Watson teaches history and comparative education at the University of Queensland in Australia.
Their study deals with the history of western education in the states of Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Uganda, and Kenya. Their sources are the secondary literature as well as official documents such as British policy papers and, in the case of Tanganyika, the annual reports to the League of Nations and the United Nations. The authors do not employ archival sources nor do very many of the works which they cite. Only a few studies on Christian missionary activities in the individual territories include material on education based upon such records. The field seems wide open for researchers to investigate the history of western education in each country using primary sources in Africa and in Britain. Further, the bibliography suggests that there is as yet no study of British educational policies throughout Africa or of the Colonial Office's role in education.
While all of the East African countries experienced British rule
(Tanganyika having been part of German East Africa from 1884 to 1914), Britain did not treat them as a unit or follow a single policy in education. Practically the sole inter-territorial ties promoted by the British lay in the field of higher education. These links became significant only after the Second World War. Nevertheless, there were some common features because of the British presence. In all four colonial territories the British tended to leave most education in missionary hands until after the Second World War, to establish separate schools for the different races (African European Arab, Indian), and to introduce British educational models that were adapted according to local circumstances and current philosophies.
The material in the volume is organized by periods that are mainly
political and then by territories within each period. Thus, after a Chapter on indigenous education, western education is treated up to the First World War, between the two world wars, from the Second World War to independence, and since independence. This kind of organization allows the reader to see the impact of political developments in the colonial world at the territorial level. It also focuses his attention upon the policies and practices that gave a distinctive stamp to the educational development of each territory. The authors' comparisons between the various territories when there were
important differences on such matters as curriculum, language of instruction, and the respective goals and roles of government and missions further emphasize the distinctive features rather than the common ones.
The volume does a particularly fine job of showing what elements
of the population (geographically, ethnically, socially) in each country received an education and what kind of education they obtained. It shows the circumstances that led to a very tiny proportion of secondary and higher graduates, especially in Tanganyika. It relates the educational developments to the political and economic evolution of each country. The sections on the development of higher education, including the breakdown of inter-state cooperation and rise of national institutions, are fascinating reading. They
permit very interesting comparisons with similar developments in the former French territories (for example, the creation and demise of FESAC in the four states of Equatorial Africa between 1959 and 1971).
The greatest value of this study is its systematic treatment of the
development of western education in the three countries. It allows one to
see current problems and contemporary issues in historical perspective. Through its richness of detail, it provides the data for many useful cor.parisons in addition to the ones made by the authors. From my own study of education in the French territories, I conclude that the similarities of the colonial and post-independence situations are much greater than any differences resulting from particular colonial powers. Thus the work is likely to serve
as an important reference for the three countries and for comparisons with education in other African states for many years to come.
African Refugees and the Law. Edited by O~ran Melander and Peter Nobel. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1978. 98 Pp. $5.50 paper.
Review by James S. E. Opo lot, University of Alabama in Birming'ham.
The African refugee problem is not new. However, never has it been documented to the extent demonstrated in African Refugees and the Law.
African Refugees and the Law is written in a language that an average reader should not have much difficulty with. That is, basic terminology is defined; so is the problem as found in and outside Africa. Various governmental actions--legislations, public policies, procedures, remedial programs-at the local as well as international level are outlined and discussed; so are some of the nagging issues and problems. A list of resource persons is provided for those who may wish to pursue a particular aspect(s) of the African refugee problem. As such, African Refugees and the Law provides a useful framework for more empirical studies at the local as well as the international level, which should lead to some theorizing on themes such as. preferentiall treatment of one refugee group against another or others," "types of crimes (other than visa related ones) committed by refugees," "implications of the refugee problem in international relations," "the role of refugees in the national development of the host country," "conflicts among refugee groups," and "implications of the loss of citizens as refugees in the national development of their homeland."
Introduction to Law in Contemporary Africa. By A. Kodwo Mensah-Brown. New York: Conch Magazine Limited, 1976. $5.00 paper. Review by James S.E. Opolot, University of Alabama in Birmingham.
A. Kodwo Mensah-Brown, Associate Professor of African Studies, has
paved the way for what has long been lacking in the study of contemporary African legal systems. This is the need for a text that is comprehensive but straightforward in language and style.
The author begins his book by relating to the reader the aspects of law that are of interest to the historian, economist, political scientist, sociologist, or anthropologist. Then he moves on to identify the major legal families that were introduced to various parts of Africa at different times, and outlines the nature of indigenous legal systems that these colonial powers encountered. In either respect, he deals with the way a legal system evolves--sources of law. Finally, not only does the author describe what became of the existence of colonial legal systems, on the one hand, and indigenous legal systems, on the other, but also the various steps that have been taken following independence.
Unfortunately, Mensah-Brown has left out analysis of some of the
critical areas of study of contemporary African legal systems. Among these are legal institutions--the police, courts and prisons. It is by analyzing them that one really gets an idea of what impact has prevailed in view of the introduction of colonial laws. In other words, there is much room for improving the scope of Mensah-Brown's book.
Disease in African History: An lntrodictory Survey and Case Studies. Edited by Gerald W. Hartwig and K. David Patterson. Durham: Duke University Center for Commonwealth and Comparative Studies, 1978. $13.75. Review by Ira E. Harrison, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The papers in this volume are the results of a symposium on Disease and History in Africa, held at the Quail Roost Conference Center in April 1975. Four of the six contributors are historians; the remaining two are a geographer and a political scientist.
Chapter One, the Disease Factor: An Introductory Overview, is a
straight-forward explanatory sketching out of what little is known in this area, what the contributors plan to discuss, and what issues and themes other researchers might explore. Th authors begin with a discussion of the interaction between African peoples in equalibrium with disease and subsistence systems in relative isolation. However, the bulk of the chapter highlights the impact of loss of isolation andequalibrium due to such factors as Arab and/or European colonization, exploration, migration, trade, transportation, urbanization, and war, and shifting patterns of disease. This not only results in an uneven pattern of disease and death, but results in an exchange
of disease entities. for example, we are told. . Muslim and European travelers must have introduced Africans to. . small pox, measles and syphilis by 1600/and/Europeans and the Americans acquired yellow fever epidemics from West Africa; and the slave trade was responsible for the transmission of many helminthic infections, including hookwoom, filariasis, and onchocerciasis into the New World.
Various authors discuss small pox and cholera epidemics that decimated Maasi and Kerebe populations; tick-born relapsing fever in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganika; river blindness, cerebrospinal meningitis, small pox, venereal disease and influenza among the Sara of Southern Chad, and malaria, dysentery, typhus, "poisoning", pneumonia and tuberculosis in the Cameroun from 1884-1939. Oral histories and written documents, maps, graphs, etc. are used to describe the origin, spread, distribution and control of various disease entities.
A discussion of louse-borne relapsing fever in the Sudan is an excellent example of how a lack of communication between colonial medical services can be a disaster for colonized peoples. The major factors in the epidemic of 1926 were the disorganized communications between London, Khartoum and Darfur, the hardy nature of the host-louse, the resistance of local populations to de-lousing measures and burning of their villages, and the technical (non-humanitarian) justification of public health expenditures to save the cotton crop, plus the re-appearance of louse-born relapsing fever via pilgrims and migrant laborers from neighboring countries. One of the most insightful observations in this chapter is the presence of relapsing fever among the Shilluk peoples. Traditionally, the Shilluk wear little, or no clothes. Clothing is a haven for lice. Thus, it is believed clothing, a form of acculturation on the part of the Shilluk to European customs resulted in louse-borne relapsing fever among the Shilluk.
This book is best suited for seminars in public health, comparative
medical services courses, and specialcourses on disease, history, and Africa. The classroom teacher will find this book insightful in spots, but generally difficult for students lacking rudimentary epidemiological concepts. Nevertheless, this is an important breakthrough in our attempt to assess the impact of the colonial powers on the African peoples. We are given careful scholarship in a carefully neglected area.
Harambee, Kenya! Filmstrip/tape program photographed, written and produced by Blair Seitz with Learning Guide Notes by Henry Ferguson. Thompson, CT: Interculture Associates, 1978. $90.00. Review by Thomas O'Toole, Western Carolina University.
This series of four filmstrips with accompanying tapes is a basically
innocuous learning tool for secondary teachers especially if it is coupled with
the excellent films series on Kenya, White Man's Country. It does avoid the worst stereotypes of the "Dark Continent".
The first filmstrip probably focuses too much emphasis on the Somalia minority in Kenya (76 of the first 91 frames) since they represent less than 3 percent of the population. The second filmstrip uses the terms, Bantu and tribal in a manner which is no longer considered satisfactory by many sensitive Africanists. It presents a "syncretic" Christian religious group with inadequate explanation and does not clearly differentiate traditional myths from contemporary beliefs. The third filmstrip again probably gives undue attention to the "exotic Massai" (sic) (about 38 of 75 frames) who make up less than 2 percent of Kenya's population. Though in error about the duration of Arab influence on the coast (claiming only 100 years), the final filmstrip is an interesting glimpse of the "Swahili" coastal towns. Unfortunatley the final eight frames which offer a glimpse of Nairobi do not leave the viewer an adequate perception of the Asian and European impact on urban life in Kenya. With more than 5 percent of the population of Kenya, people in Nairobi ought to receive more than this passing reference.
It is very difficult not to photograph what one finds interesting but too often even for the trained Africanist this means one focuses on the minority andthe out-of-the-ordinary. This series, like most materials on Africa, needs a more conscious urban and "modern" focus.
A Handbook of African Names. By Ihechukwu Madubuike. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1976. $9.00. Review by Harris W. Mobley, Georgia Southern College.
Anyone who has lived in an African society and learned the language of its people will appreciate this lively volume on the social significance of African names. The brief section on Akan naming traditions (103-108) brought to mind one of my earlier tasks after arriving in the field: memorizing the birthday names, seven female and seven male, one of which every Ashanti bears.
Professor Madubuike, a Nigerian now teaching African literature at Ohio State, provides a rather thorough coverage of his native Igbo naming practices. In addition, he reviews those of some twenty other linguistic groups of Africa. A really useful listing of more than a thousand names, male and female, are defined in their cultural context.
This reviewer was particularly impressed by the complexity of traditional naming practices.
People have not just one or two names but four, five or even six names.
The giving of plural names is the rule rather than the exception.
Among the Abaluhya of Kenya, for instance, each of the clans which
have a link with the family of the child has a name for it. As
there are usually four of them, the child cannot have fewer than four names. The child receives two names from the father's clan, two from the mother's clan, a name designating the season when he
is born, and another name designating the day when he is born.
Apart from these six names the individual can have other names.
It would therefore be ridiculous to ask him to say which is his
middle name or his first name.
Today, however, because of western influence, every "detribalized"
African is supposed to have a middle name. Many application forms
have a space for middle names, and for administrative purposes,
the African is, as it were forced to use one or two of his names
as the middle name(s) (15).
I gladly recommend this little volume to all those interested in becoming better informed about Black Africa and its peoples.
AFRICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The annual conference of the African Literature Association will be held at. the University, April 9-12. A wide range of conference panels will address the theme "Defining the African Aesthetic: Literature and Other Art Forms," and will be supported by book exhibits, films and other culturalactivities. Participants will include such well-known African writers as Chinua Achebe, Francis Bebey, Kofi Awoonor, Wole Soyinka, and Dennis Brutus, and American writers such as James Baldwin and Samuel Allen.
Operation Crossroads Africa and the United States International Communication Agency will fund the visit of a group of African writers participating in the conference. Following the meeting these writers will be available on a limited basis to serve as writers-in-residence on campuses throughout the United States. Individuals who would wish to have these writers on their campus should contact Lynn Blackmear, Operations Crossroads Africa, 150 5th Avenue, Suite 310, New York, New York 10011, phone (212) 242-8550. A delegation of Angolan writers scheduled to attend the conference may also be available for post-conference tours. Professor Don Burness who will handle their visit to the United States is arranging a lecture circuit. Persons who desire to have these writers visit their campus should contact Professor Burness at Franklin Pierce College, English Department, Rindge, New Hampshire 03461, phone (603) 899-5111.
Those interested in Africa and African literature are encouraged to attend. Travel arrangements should be made immediately as this is Florida's peak tourist season. For application information write to the co-conveners: Mildred A. Hill-Lubin and Bernadette Cailler, c/o Center for African Studies, 470 Grinter Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
PLACING AFRICAN STUDIES INTO PERSPECTIVE
The World Affairs Activites Newsletter, produced for the Society for Citizen Education in World Affairs, is a bi-monthly souce of information for international education developments which is of considerable interest to working professionals in world affairs--global education, foreign policy, development trade, non-governmental and international organizations. Printed and distributed by arrangement with the Foreign Policy Association, the WAA Newsletter is included in the $18 fee for annual membership in SCEWA. Make check payable to: Society for Citizen Education in World Affairs, c/o Dr. William C. Rogers, Director, Minnesota World Affairs Center, 306 Wesbrook Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
SUDANOW is a monthly English language magazine published by Sudan's Ministry of Culture and Information. It is the only regular publication covering information on all aspects of the Sudan. Regular features include current affairs, business, development, social affairs, the arts and sport. Inquiries should be sent to Lotus Press Ltd., 8 Stourbridge Road, Bromsgrove B61 OAB, ENGLAND.
ARCHIVES-LIBRARIES COMMITTEE MEETING
The Archives-Libraries Committee of the African Studies Association will hold its spring meeting at Boston University, April 17-19. The meeting agenda will appear in Africana Libraries Newletter (Boston University), No. 28. For further information contact: Gretchen Walsh, African Studies Library, Boston, University, 771 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215
JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN AFFAIRS
The Journal of Southern African Affairs, a publication of the Southern African Research Association, is an interdisciplinary quarterly of research and writing on economics, politics, international affairs, law, history, sociology, anthropology, geography, technology and the cultures of Southern Africa. It emphasizes an African-centric approach to the study of Southern Africa. It is international, empirical, objective, and presents the most current materials selected on the basis of superior scholarship, relevance
and utility. The geographic areas covered are: South Africa, N'amibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique,
including the border states of Tanzania and Zaire. George Shepherd, in his review of the Journal-in the.ASA Review of Books '78 Vol. 4. 1978 has stated:
Contributors are both Americans and Africans and include various
racial groups. The journal has wisely avoided being stereotyped
as the product of one racial group or the other. The current trend
to evaluate research and policy analysis on the basis of quality rather than the author's race is evident throughout the journal.
Hopefully their work will have an influence among not only
scholars but African elites and Western policy makers as well.
The Southern African Research Association is an organization of individuals, scholars and institutions pursuing research on Southern Africa. Membership is open to individuals and institutions with an interest in Southern Africa, and entitles one to free copies of the Journal. Annual dues are as follows: Full Membership: $25.00, Associate Membership: $20.00, Student Membership: $15.00 and Institutional Membership: $30.00. Inquiries or membership dues should be sent to:
Southern African Research
Room 4133 Art/Sociology Bldg.
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742
The Association was formed in 1972 to cultivate interactions among Africanists in the Southeastern United States. Membership in the SMA is open to any individual. The organization welcomes membership not only of professionally trained Africanists but also of educators in elementary, secondary and higher education who have concern with and interest in disseminating knowledge about Africa.
Communication among the membership is achieved primarily through the Bulletin of the Southern Association of Africanists which each member receives after payment of dues. This journal is published three times a year through the auspices of the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida at Gainesville. The content of the journal is directed towards teaching and features review essays, media reviews, syllabi and short articles pertaining to teaching concerns. Meetings are held at regional centers, and individual members have organized panels on behalf of the SMA at various regional meetings of the major discipline associations and at the annual ASA meetings.
Back issues of the Bulletin may be ordered from the Center for African Studies University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 for $1.50 plus 25C for postage and handling.
----------------------------- ---------- ----- -- -- -- -SMA MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM
Street City State ZIP
Institutional Affiliation____________________________Enclosed is_______ for my dues in the SMA ($4.00 per year).
Make checks payable to the SMA and send to:
Dr. James Brown
Department of History
Spartanburg Regional Campus
University of South Carolina
Sparitanburg, S.C. 29303
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