Africa, Fourth Edition

Africa, Fourth Edition

John H Hanson and Patrick O'Meara, edited by Maria Grosz-Ngate
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/18/2014
Format: Paperback 132 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-01292-0
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2015 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

Since the publication of the first edition in 1977, Africa has established itself as a leading resource for teaching, business, and scholarship. This fourth edition has been completely revised and focuses on the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Africa. The volume emphasizes contemporary culture–civil and social issues, art, religion, and the political scene–and provides an overview of significant themes that bear on Africa's place in the world. Historically grounded, Africa provides a comprehensive view of the ways that African women and men have constructed their lives and engaged in collective activities at the local, national, and global levels.

Author Bio

Maria Grosz-Ngaté is an anthropologist and Associate Director of the African Studies Program at Indiana University. She has conducted long-term research in Mali and Senegal with a focus on rural social transformations, gender, and Islam.

John H. Hanson is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University and an editor of History in Africa. His research concerns the history of West Africa Muslim communities during the past 200 years.

Patrick O’Meara is Special Advisor to the Indiana University President, Vice President Emeritus and Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs and Political Science. He was the editor (with Phyllis Martin) of all of the previous editions of Africa. His interests include South African politics and international development.


“A remarkable textbook that reflects and explains the diversity, dynamism, and dilemmas of the contemporary African continent. The chapters are engaging and accessible; they explore a broad range of topics, from the legacies of colonialism to popular art and debates about human rights. Africans are depicted as neither victims nor victors, but men and women seeking connections, security, pleasure, and creativity in an ever-changing world. I am sure that Africa will quickly become the 'go-to' text for introductory classes in African studies.”
 — Dorothy L. Hodgson, Rutgers University

“Africa has long been the best introduction to the dynamism of the African continent and to the struggles and aspirations of its peoples. This fully updated and largely rewritten 4th edition is thus a most welcome resource for all who seek to introduce students to the complex lived reality of the African continent in the 21st century. A comprehensive survey of a continent in motion.”
 — Leonardo A. Villalón, University of Florida

“A much anticipated and welcome update to a classic introductory text in African studies.  This beautifully assembled and presented book probes in appropriate detail a wide range of topics that will provide students with a firm foundation for understanding the African continent.”
 — Michael Lambert, Director, African Studies Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“This excellent and comprehensive collection succeeds in representing the diversity, dynamism, and flux that characterize contemporary Africa. Entries by leading Africanist scholars focus on processes and interconnections rather than on ‘traditions,’ revealing how Africans have long engaged in complex regional and global relations. The chapters make African agency visible and provide illustrations of African ingenuity, innovation, and creativity. The authors convey a sense of the controversies and the broad range of perspectives through which Africa and African issues have been perceived. The writing is lucid and lively. This state of the art compendium will be of use to all those interested in Africa.”
 — Victoria Bernal, University of California, Irvine

“This fourth edition of Africa is an outstanding up-to-date introductory text that discusses a range of subjects, from contemporary social and political relations to health, illness and healing; from economic development to literature, the visual arts and rural and urban life.  Well-written and appropriate for both students and the general reader, this volume brings to life Africa’s past, and its many present-day 21st century realities. No other text covers so much and yet remains so accessible.”
 — Sandra E. Greene, Cornell University

“Since the publication of the first edition of this book in 1977, Africa has established itself as the most popular introductory text for African studies courses in North America. This third edition has been completely revised and brought up to date since the 1986 edition, reflecting changes in African society and politics, and in the scholarship available on this vast and complex continent.”

“From all indications, the fourth edition of Africa should not only endure the test of time, but also be found exceptionally useful by a wide spectrum of scholars, including college professors and their students in general.”
 — Africa Today

“This new edition offers a condensed yet thematically broad text suitable for both the undergraduate classroom and a popular audience. Abridged from twenty-one to fifteen chapters, Africa retains its tradition of interdisciplinary breadth by incorporating a range of accessible, thematically organized perspectives informed by the latest scholarship.”
 — African Studies Review

“Africa is the product of careful planning and a great deal of hard work by many people recommended to any student who wishes to gain up-to-date information on the current sstate of knowledge in that increasingly complex and unwieldy specialization known as African Studies.International Journal of African Historical Study”
 — International Journal of African Historical Studies

“An ideal undergraduate text for interdisciplinary courses or courses in history or politics. It could be used at an introductory graduate level, or by students of African studies wanting a brief background in another discipline . . . also an excellent book for non-academic purposes, simply for enjoyable reading.”
 — Canadian Journal of African Studies

“Much has changed in Africa and in African studies in the last ten years, but one constant has been the enduring excellence of the anthology Africa.”
 — International Journal of African Historical Studies

“A treasure trove of information, critical analysis, and informed and informative comment.”
 — Sunday Independent (Durban)

“Here is a highly recommended multidisciplinary introductory volume, one which should appeal to the serious general reader as well as to the student specializing in African studies.”
 — The Nigerian Field

“[P]rovides an excellent introductory overview of the continent . . . .59.1 1989”
 — Africa

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Table of Contents

1. Africa: A Geographic Frame
James Delehanty
2. Legacies of the Past: Themes in African History
John Akare Aden and John H. Hanson
3. Social Relations: Family, Kinship, and Community
Maria Grosz-Ngaté
4. Making a Living: African Livelihoods
Gracia Clark and Katherine Wiley
5. Religions in Africa
John H. Hanson
6. Urban Spaces, Lives, and Projects in Africa
Karen Tranberg Hansen
7. Health, Illness, and Healing in African Societies
Tracy J. Luedke
8. Visual Art in Africa
Patrick McNaughton and Diane Pelrine
9. African Music Flows
Daniel B. Reed and Ruth M. Stone
10. Literature in Africa
Eileen Julien
11. African Film
Akin Adesokan
12. African Politics and the Future of Democracy
Amos Sawyer, Lauren M. MacLean and Carolyn E. Holmes
13. Development in Africa: Tempered Hope
Raymond Muhula and Stephen N. Ndegwa
14. Human Rights in Africa
Takyiwaa Manuh
15. Print and Electronic Resources
Marion Frank-Wilson


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