A History of African Societies to 1870
This comprehensive and detailed exploration of the African past, from prehistory to approximately 1870, is intended to provide a fully up-to-date complement to the Cambridge History of Africa. Reflecting several emphases in recent scholarship, it focusses on the changing modes of production, on gender relations and on ecology, laying particular stress on viewing ‘history from below’. A distinctive theme is to be found in its analyses of cognitive history. The work falls into three sections. The first comprises a historiographic analysis, and covers the period from the dawn of prehistory to the end of the Early Iron Age. The second and third sections are, for the most part, organised on regional lines; the second section ends in the sixteenth century; the third carries the story on to 1870. A second volume, now in preparation, will cover the period from 1870 to 1995. This book attempts a more rounded view of African history than most of the other textbooks on the subject addressed to a (largely) undergraduate level student. Earlier histories have tended to ignore some of the current foci in the scholarly literature on Africa, generally not reflected in the textbooks: these include discussions of topical issues like ecology and gender. Isichei’s book is also more radical.
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