The Akan Diaspora in the Americas

The Akan Diaspora in the Americas

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Research on the African diaspora in the Americas has an uninterrupted focus on West Africa, and an equally incessant neglect of the Akan in comparison to the Yoruba, Igbo, or Kongo-Angola diasporas. In his groundbreaking study of the Akan diaspora, Konadu demonstrates how this cultural group originating in Central West Africa both participated in and went beyond the familiar diasporic themes of maroonage, resistance, and freedom. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth century, the Akan never constituted a majority among other Africans in the Americas. But their leadership skills in war and political organization, efficacy in medicinal plant use and spiritual practice, and composite culture archived in the musical traditions, language, and patterns of African diasporic life far outweighed their sheer numbers. Konadu argues that a composite Akan culture calibrated between the Gold Coast littoral and forest fringe made the contributions of the Akan diaspora possible. He first calls attention to the historic formation of Akan culture in West Africa and its reach into the Americas.
Then, the author examines the Akan experience in Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, former Danish and Dutch colonies, and North America, and how those early experiences foreground the contemporary engagement and movement of diasporic Africans and Akan people between Ghana and North America. Locating the Akan variable in the African diasporic equation allows scholars and students of the Americas to better understand how the diasporic quilt came to be and is still evolving.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 324 pages
  • 164 x 238 x 32mm | 680.39g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 10 black and white halftones, 9 black and white line illustrations
  • 0195390644
  • 9780195390643

Review quote

There is much to appreciate in this impressively researched text. Konadu has written the first book-length treatment of the Gold Coast diaspora, rich with material on the precolonial origins of Akan societies, the migration of Akan-speakesr to the Americas, and their participation in social and political struggles ... [it] will greatly enhance our sense of what Africa means to its residents and descendants. * Vincent Brown, Journal of African History *
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About Kwasi Konadu

Visiting Assistant Professor, Center for Ethnic Studies, City University of New York. Formerly Assistant Professor, Winston-Salem University, Department of Social Sciences-History.
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Table of contents

1. On Diaspora and the Akan in the Americas ; 2. Quest for the River, Creation of the Path: West Africa and Akan Culture Development to the Sixteenth Century ; 3. History and Meaning in Akan Societies, 1500 - 1800 ; 4. "The Most Unruly": The Akan in Danish and Dutch America ; 5. The Antelope (adowa) and the Elephant ( sono): The Akan in the British Caribbean ; 7. "All of the Coromantee Country": The Akan Diaspora in North America ; 8. Diaspora Discourses: Akan Spiritual Praxis and the Claims of Cultural Identity
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