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HIST 3410- The Historiography of African History September 16 2013.docx

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HIST 3410
Femi Kolapo

September 16 2013 HIST 3410 HIST 3410- The Historiography of African History September 16 2013 What is African about African history? Why study it? th Before 19 century, people from all over Africa did not consider themselves as a singular Africans. There wasn’t a sense of Africanisms So what is African history if there wasn’t an entity of Africa? - Individual kingdoms, chiefdoms, tribes, etc. th The sense of a united Africa increased and by the 20 century it was felt to be one. - What is the common dominator o Located- ness within the continent of Africa  Share a geographical space: continent o Development of the sense of Africanisms over the millennia and th th especially since the 19 - 20 century (crystalized at that time period, before colonization)  Mentioned above  Started to see themselves as one under European domination o Legitimate unit of study— unity of the people and their history  Shared history unified the experience Africa is essentially an island of itself - Allowed it for a long time to be isolated because of the nature of its location - People within the continent were able to live within themselves o Why so many people believe that Africa has a distinctive culture  Compared to Europe and the rest of the world Justification: Geography - The map of Africa as discussed last week shows compactness unmatched by any other continent, with an important exception its link with the old world Justification: Climate and Vegetation - Africa’s tropical situation crossing the three equatorial latitudes - This provided a tropical environment for the development of human society in Africa with common economic social political cultural features o Types of political forms, how people sustained themselves  Influences by ^ similarities of life o Savannah the most optimal place for human development o The belt beneath the desert, nomadic type of societies Problem of Sources: - From the inception (referred to he academic study of African history) of academic study of African history it was has been integrally related to the problem of sources o First, Europeans conceived of Africa to have no history 1 September 16 2013 HIST 3410 o Initiated for the sake of colonialism - Second, beginning of historicity (historical authenticity) in Africa was attributed to the coming of Europeans, who “gave” it history. o Before academic study of Africa there was history o Many societies had specialist historians before Europeans arrived in Africa o “Saving Africans” (In) Famous (mis) quotes about African history “Dark continent”, “dark history”, they d not possess history but that of which Europeans wrote in Africa “It has remained shut up within itself” Defining Africa, by evidential sources - Interpretation of the place of geography [Sahara desert] important in the delimitation of what is African history o In narratives of Africa, it is either seen as a chasm or as a bridge  Historians have always seen Africa divided by the Sahara, divides north and south Africa
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