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The search for Africa : history, culture, politics

Author: Basil Davidson
Publisher: New York : Times Books, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
A collection of short essays various aspects of African history, culture and modern politics.
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Basil Davidson
ISBN: 0812922786 9780812922783 0812925270 9780812925272
OCLC Number: 28634753
Description: x, 373 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: Thinking About Africa --
Claims. The Search for Africa's Past. Africa and the Invention of Racism. Rescuing Africa's History. Africanism and Its Meanings --
Antipathies. Race and Resistance. The Roots of Antiapartheid. South Africa: A System of Legalized Servitude. African Saga. Pluralism in Colonial African Societies --
Sympathies. African Peasants and Revolution. Voices from the Front. The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral --
Debates. Nationalism and Its Ambiguities. Nationalism and Africa's Self-Transformation. The Politics of Restitution. Southern Africa: Progress Or Disaster? --
Arguments. The Ancient World and Africa: Whose Roots? The Curse of Columbus.
Responsibility: Basil Davidson.
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Abstract:

A collection of short essays various aspects of African history, culture and modern politics.

For more than forty years, Basil Davidson has been writing on Africa, helping to lift the curtain of ignorance that has too long cloaked that astonishing continent with its many vibrant peoples. In more than twenty books, from The Lost Cities of Africa to The African Genius to The Black Man's Burden, he has contributed to one of the truly liberating achievements of the twentieth century : the reinstallation of Africa's peoples within the culture of the world. Moreover, Davidson has done so with a spirit of infectious adventure and vitality and commitment. That spirit, fleshed out with deep research and attired in elegant style, has drawn countless readers to subjects otherwise approachable only by experts. Taken together, his many writings have made the excitement of intellectual discovery palpable for us all. In the course of his fruitful career Davidson has written many shorter pieces as well, and the best of these are collected for the first time in The Search for Africa. These penetrating essays, essential to understanding the passionate spirit of this founder of modern African studies, provide the background and perspective needed to understand a continent whose upheavals continue to shake the world. In them, Basil Davidson joins the heated debate over Africanism, Eurocentricism, and the historical role of Africa. He does so with unmatched erudition and solidarity. Readers new to his work will appreciate Davidson's clarity of style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Because he has a passion and respect for African culture and the African peoples, Davidson debunks Western myths about Africa, and anyone ignorant of its realities will learn much from his engaged presentation. His very tone is that of a man who is primarily concerned with truth. The Search for Africa begins with an essay on the roots and contributions of Africa's ancient kingdoms and proceeds to a meditation on the invention of racism and the meanings of Africanism. Next is a dissection of the South African system of legalized servitude, its origins and consequences. This is followed by an examination of the struggles of Africans to free themselves from the imperial powers, in the course of which Davidson grapples with the ambiguities of nationalism. The book ends with a reflection on what the author calls the "curse of Columbus." In a wider sense, The Search for Africa forms a bridge between the three parallel enterprises of history, culture, and politics. It reveals how culture justifies itself by history, how history influences culture, and how politics threads its way through both. It is an indispensable capstone to a remarkable career. - Jacket flap.

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