Daily Archives: March 8, 2021

Oxford Research Encyclopedias: African History

Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press)

Apr 27, 2017

Led by Thomas Spear, the ORE of African History will provide overviews of established ideas in the field and articles will appear online first in a discoverable environment. Follow the progress of the ORE of African History at http://africanhistory.oxfordre.com/​ Through the Oxford Research Encyclopedia (ORE) program, Oxford is building online encyclopedias in over 20 disciplines, powered by the world’s leading scholars and researchers. With expert editors and peer-review, the ORE project will combine the discoverability of digital with the standards of academic publishing. © Oxford University Press.

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The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources: Thomas Spear

The difficulties of exploring African history, especially for earlier periods, have spurred the development of a wide range of methodologies and approaches, such that Wyatt McGaffey once termed it “the decathlon of the social sciences.” Historians have long utilized archaeology, ethnography, historical linguistics, and oral traditions in their study of the continent, but are only beginning to explore the possibilities of genetics or many of the techniques used by modern archaeology and other emerging sciences. And as digital sources-from historical documents and statistics to cartographic, climatic, demographic, and environmental modeling-proliferate, so do the problems in using them. The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources examines how these developments have influenced the scholarship that historians produce. Such methods continue to evolve, demanding that historians develop basic understandings of them. Thus, the two-volume Encyclopedia builds a theoretical foundation for the field, expanding the ways that Africa can be studied, and recovering the histories of the continent that often appear outside of the documentary record.

  • First comprehensive collection of such methods and sources that scholars use to explore African history.
  • Over 75 in-depth articles giving extensive overviews of themes in African historiography.
  • Over 50 maps, charts, and images provide dynamic context to research .
  • Discusses the different genres of history that African historians write, and why they write them.
  • 75 articles with footnotes and bibliographies.
  • Comprehensive analysis of African historiography, exploring the latest practices in archaeology, genetics, and social sciences.
  • All of the articles appear online as part of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History.

Thomas Spear is Professor of African History Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was also Director of the African Studies Program and Chair of the History Department. He is a leading scholar of pre-colonial and East African history, and has published a number of books and articles on the subject, including The Kaya Complex: A History of the Mijikenda Peoples of the Kenya Coast to 1900 (1978); Kenya’s Past: An Introduction to Historical Method in Africa (1981); The Swahili: Reconstructing the History and Language of an African Society, 800-1500 (with Derek Nurse, 1985); Mountain Farmers: Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru (1997); Being Maasai: Ethnicity and Identity in East Africa (ed. with Richard Waller, 1993); and East African Expressions of Christianity (ed. with Isaria Kimambo, 1999). He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies; served as editor of the Journal of African History; and taught at La Trobe University and Williams College.

  • Publisher : Oxford University Press; 1st edition (April 12, 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 1736 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0190698705
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0190698706
  • Item Weight : 7.74 pounds
  • Dimensions : 10.8 x 4.8 x 7.8 inches

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African Perspectives on Colonialism (The Johns Hopkins Symposia in Comparative History, 15): A. Adu Boahen

This history deals with the twenty-year period between 1880 and 1900, when virtually all of Africa was seized and occupied by the Imperial Powers of Europe. Eurocentric points of view have dominated the study of this era, but in this book, one of Africa’s leading historians reinterprets the colonial experiences from the perspective of the colonized.


“Contradict[s] the extraordinary myth that Africa ‘has no history..’Boahen is one of the pioneers in the school of African historiography.”

–Times Literary Supplement

“Here is the story from the other side; it serves as a needed corrective to the ubiquitous Eurocentric point of view.”


About the Author

A. Adu Boahen was a professor at The University of Ghana, historian, and politician. He is also the author of Topics in West African History, 2nd Edition and Ghana: Evolution and Change in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

  • Publisher : Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 1989)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 133 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0801839319
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0801839313
  • Item Weight : 8 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.43 x 9 inches

Africa and the West: A Documentary History, Vol. 1: From the Slave Trade to Conquest, 1441-1905: William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, Edward A. Alpers

Africa and the West presents a fascinating array of primary sources to engage readers in the history of Africa’s long and troubled relationship with the West. Many of the sources have not previously appeared in print, or in books readily available to students. Volume 1 covers two major topics: the Atlantic slave trade and the European conquest. It details the beginnings of the slave trade, slavery as a business, the experiences of slaves, and the effect of abolitionism on the trade, using such documents as a letter from a sixteenth-century African king to the king of Portugal calling for a more regulated slave trade, and the nineteenth-century testimony of a South African slave accused of treason. The volume also covers the early nineteenth-century considerations of the costs and benefits of colonization, the development of conquest as the century progressed, with special attention to technology, legislation, empire, religion, racism, and violence, through such unusual documents as Cecil Rhodes’s will and a chart of the costs of African animals exported to Western zoos.


“This is a very successful history of the Indian Ocean. It is also, often silently, an important
contribution to world history…What is remarkable is that Alpers touches all the main bases and themes even in this short compass…Alpers has long been known as an East Africa, and especially Mozambique, specialist. This makes even more commendable the way he writes extensively and knowledgably on the other side of the ocean, the Bay of Bengal, the Malay world, and the South China Sea.”–International Journal of Maritime History
“The selection and organization of the documents is so effective that the book provides a wonderful introduction into Africa’s intersection with Europe through the words of the people who lived through it. From the era of the slave trade to the establishment of the new South Africa, Africa and the West portrays Africa as a real place full of complex and interesting people and institutions, and it emphasizes that the ‘Western’ intersection with Africa was more than just an impact and response. People experienced, observed, critiqued, thought, planned, plotted, and dreamed. Together, the documents of this collection provide powerful evidence of the sheer level of thought, debate, struggle, and planning that went into every stage of the Africa/West experience.”–African Studies Quarterly

“This superb collection illuminates the West’s impact on Africa from 1400 to 1994. The editors note that they have endeavored to publish documents that will interest audiences from middle school students to college graduates. They have succeeded. These highly readable selections will serve Africa well as they help students understand that African history is complex, engaging, and important.”–International Journal of African Historical Studies
“An excellent example of a documentary textbook for use in undergraduate classrooms.”–World History Bulletin

About the Authors

Willim H. Worger is Professor of History at UCLA.

Nancy L. Clark is Professor of History at Louisiana State University.

Edward A. Alpers is Professor of History at UCLA.

  • Publisher : Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 292 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0195373480
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0195373486
  • Item Weight : 1.23 pounds
  • Dimensions : 9.9 x 6.9 x 0.6 inches

Africa and the West: A Documentary History: Volume 2: From Colonialism to Independence, 1875 to the Present 2nd Edition