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Politics of African Anticolonial Archive

Edited by Shiera S. el-Malik and Isaac A. Kamola

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African political writing of the mid-20th century seeks to critically engage with questions of identity, history, and the state for the purpose of national and human liberation.

This volume collects an array of essays that reflect on anticolonialism in Africa, broadly defined. Each contribution connects the historical period with the anticolonial present through a critical examination of what constitutes the anticolonial archive. The volume considers archive in a Derridean sense, as always in the process of being constructed such that the assessment of the African anticolonial archive is one that involves a contemporary process of curating. The essays in this volume, as well as the volume itself, enact different ways of curating material from this period.

The project reflects an approach to documents, arguments, and materials that can be considered “international relations” and “world politics,” but in ways that that intentionally leaves them unhinged from these disciplinary meanings. While we examine many of the same questions that have been asked within area studies, African studies, and International Relations, we do so through an alternative archive. In doing so, we challenge the assumption that Africa is solely the domain of policy makers and area studies, and African peoples as the objects of data
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Rowman & Littlefield International
Pages: 290Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-1-78348-789-9 • Hardback • March 2017 • $120.00 • (£80.00)
978-1-78348-790-5 • Paperback • March 2017 • $39.95 • (£24.95)
978-1-78348-791-2 • eBook • March 2017 • $37.95 • (£24.95)
Shiera Sharafuddin el-Malik is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at DePaul University. Her research is guided by an interest in the intersection of politics of knowledge and lived experience. She has published articles in the Review of International Studies, African Identities, Journal of Contemporary African Studies amongst other journals and edited volumes. She was an Irish Research Council Fellow at Dublin City University.

Isaac Kamola is an Assistant Professor in Political Science in the Department of Political Science at Trinity College. His scholarly work has appeared in International Political Sociology, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, African Identities, Journal of Higher Education in Africa, Third World Quarterly, Polygraph, and Transitions as well as numerous edited volumes. Isaac was previously an American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS) New Faculty Fellow at the Johns Hopkins and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities.
Preface, Pal Aluwalia / 1. Introduction: Politics of African Anticolonial Archive, Isaac A. Kamola and Shiera S. el-Malik / 2. Archiving the Universal: Commonwealth, Truth and Pluralism in International Law, Siba Grovogui / 3. Curating and Politics: Searching for Coherency in Archives, Shiera S. el-Malik / 4. Comradeship, Committed and Conscious: The Anticolonial Archive Speaks to Our Times, Branwen Gruffydd Jones / 5. Realism Without Abstraction: Amílcar Cabral and a Politics of the World, Isaac Kamola / 6. Inviting Marianne to Dance: Congolese Rumba Lingala as an Archive Against Monument, Míde Ní Shúilleabháin / 7. Recollections of Past Events of British Colonial Rule in Northern Ghana, 1900-1956, Christopher Azaare Anabila / 8. The Skin and the Stool: Re-Crafting Histories of Belonging in Northern Ghana, Anatoli Ignatov / 9. “… But for God's Sake, Let’s Decolonize!”: Self-Determination and Sovereignty and/as the Limits of Anticolonial Archive, Timothy Vasko /10. The Hip-Hop DJ as Black Archaeologist: Madlib’s Beat Konducta in Africa and the Politics of Memory, Seth M. Markle / 11. Archiving Thomas Sankara’s Presence: Metamorphoses of Memory and Revolution in Burkina Faso, Allen Stack / Afterword: Archives, Life, and Counter- Archives, Sam Opondo /
This is an excellent anthology! It is the fruit of a timely and highly creative act of curation. El-Malik and Kamola bring together a wonderfully heterodox group of scholars to explore the intellectual backbone of African anticolonial struggles. Neither a nostalgic undertaking nor one in search of a bounded territorial authenticity, it offers readers a fresh encounter with a vibrant horizon of possibilities developed in the face of fierce opposition. Not limited to intervening in an academic field or the historical study of failed ideas, together the contributors explore the meaning of an African anticolonial archive as a global inheritance, one that illuminates core aspects of the human condition, fundamental questions of politics, and what counts as knowledge when seeking to forge a world that is no longer colonized.
Jane Anna Gordon, Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies, University of Connecticut


Academic literature has not taken the intellectual work of African anti-colonial thinkers seriously. Forgotten is the clarity of Amilcar Cabral and Thomas Sankara as well as the movements they led. This volume is part of a long task of recovery, to excavate the ferocious intelligence of the African anti-colonial world and bring it into our times.
Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut


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