Inventing Africa

Inventing Africa : History, Archaeology and Ideas

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Inventing Africa is a critical account of narratives which have selectively interpreted and misinterpreted the continent's deep past. Writers have created alluring images of lost cities, vast prehistoric migrations and golden ages of past civilisations. Debates continue on the African origins of humankind, the contributions of ancient Egypt to the world and Africa's importance to global history. Images of 'Africa', simplifying a complex and diverse continent, have existed from ancient Mediterranean worlds, slave trading nations and colonial powers to today's political elites, ecotourists and aid-givers. Robin Derricourt draws on his background as publisher and practitioner in archaeology and history to explore the limits and the dangers of simplifications, arguing - as with Said's concept of 'Orientalism' - that ambitious ideas can delude or oppress as well as inform. Defending Africa against some of the grand narratives that have been imposed upon its peoples, Inventing Africa will spark new debates in the history of Africa and of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 144.78 x 223.52 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 maps, 8 photos
  • 0745331068
  • 9780745331065

About Robin Derricourt

Robin Derricourt is Conjoint Associate Professor in History at the University of New South Wales. His career has included archaeology teaching and fieldwork, heritage administration, and editorial responsibilities for book publishing programmes in history, African studies and archaeology. As author his books include Ideas into Books, An Author's Guide to Scholarly Publishing, Man on the Kafue, People of the Lakes and (with C. Saunders) Beyond the Cape more

Review quote

Derricourt explores the use and misuse of Africa's past, everything from Basil Davidson and Raymond Dart to Afro-centrism and beyond, in an articulate and intelligent analysis that places generations of research and thinking in a broader context. Inventing Africa is certain to become a definitive and widely consulted work for anyone seriously interested in Africa's past. -- Brian Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara Robin Derricourt has written a lively and engaging book that addresses a largely overlooked issue, how have Western appreciations and conceptualisations of the African continent changed through time. With the African past still comparatively little known, or known to Western audiences, this timely work makes a significant contribution to the history of southern and south-central Africa -- Peter Mitchell FSA, Professor of African Archaeology at the University of Oxford One of the most readable books on African archaeology that has ever appeared. -- Professor Emeritus Merrick Posnansky, University of California Los Angeles, Journal of African Archaeologyshow more

Table of contents

Preface: The Construction of African Pasts 1. The Changing Shape and Perception of "Africa" 2. Mythic and Mystic Africa 3. Looking Both Ways 4. Egos and Fossils 5. Stirring the Gene Pool 6. Ancient Egypt and African Sources of Civilization 7. Old States Good, New States Bad 8. The Present of the Past End notes Indexshow more

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