Recasting the past: history writing and political work in modern Africa
The study of intellectual history in Africa is in its infancy. We know very little about what Africa’s thinkers made of their times. Recasting the Past brings one field of intellectual endeavor into view. The book takes its place alongside a small but growing literature that highlights how, in autobiographies, historical writing, fiction, and other literary genres, African writers intervened creatively in their political world.
The past has already been worked over by the African interpreters that the present volume brings into view. African brokers—pastors, journalists, kingmakers, religious dissidents, politicians, entrepreneurs all—have been doing research, conducting interviews, reading archives, and presenting their results to critical audiences. Their scholarly work makes it impossible to think of African history as an inert entity awaiting the attention of professional historians. Professionals take their place in a broader field of interpretation, where Africans are already reifying, editing, and representing the past.
The essays collected in Recasting the Past study the warp and weft of Africa’s homespun historical work. Contributors trace the strands of discourse from which historical entrepreneurs drew, highlighting the sources of inspiration and reference that enlivened their work. By illuminating the conventions of the past, Africa’s history writers set their contemporary constituents on a path toward a particular future. History writing was a means by which entrepreneurs conjured up constituencies, claimed legitimate authority, and mobilized people around a cause. By illuminating the spheres of debate in which Africa’s own scholars participated, Recasting the Past repositions the practice of modern history.
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PART ONE CREATIVE LIVES CREATIVE WRITING
The War of the Books
When You Shake a Tree
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Recasting the Past: History Writing and Political Work in Modern Africa
Derek R. Peterson,Giacomo Macola
No preview available - 2009
African History Agyeman Prempeh Akan Akinyele Akinyele's Archives argued Asante Asantehene Ashanti authority Bakonzo and Baamba Bemba Bowdich British Cambridge Casamance central century Chagga chapter chiefs Christian clan colonial context cultural Customs Daily Nation discourse District Egypt elders ethnic European Ghana Giriama Gold Coast Haalpulaar historiography homespun historians hymns Ibadan Ibid identity imagination intellectual interview Iwe Itan Ibadan John Lonsdale joking pacts Joola Kaulinge Kaulinge's kaya Kenya Kilimanjaro king kingdom Kumase Kwanyama Lamula language leaders Lenshina London Lumpa Church Maitha Mandume Marealle Mijikenda Mission missionaries moral Mukirane Mulenga Nairobi narrative Natal nationalist Native Njau Nkumbula Northern Rhodesia Ogot oral origins oriki Osei Oxford past patriae Patricia Hayes patriotic Petros political precolonial published Rwenzururu Sarbah scholars Senegal Senegalese Senghor Serer social society story Tanzania Toro Toro kingdom Toro's traditions Uganda UNIP University Press UZulukaMalandela Wolof writing wrote Yoruba Zambia Zulu