Africa: An Introduction invites you into Africa: a continent rich with culture and history, with diverse populations stretching from the dense tropical rain forest of the Congo basin, right up to the Sahara Desert in the north, and down to the Mediterranean climates of the far south.
Containing fifty-five countries, and covering over 20 percent of the world’s landmass, Africa is the birthplace of humanity, yet the image of Africa in the West is often negative, that of a continent riddled with endemic problems. This accessible and engaging guide to the African continent guides the reader through the history, geography, and politics of Africa. It ranges from the impact of slavery and imperialism through to the rise of African nationalism and the achievement of independence, and up to the present moment. Key topics covered include literature, art, technology, religion, the condition of African women, health, education, and the mounting environmental concerns faced by African people.
As Africa moves beyond the painful legacies of slavery and imperialism, this book provides an engaging, uplifting, and accessible introduction to a rapidly modernizing and diverse continent. Suitable for high school and undergraduate students studying Africa, this book will also serve as the perfect introduction for anyone looking to understand the history of Africa and the Africa of today.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the rationale for African studies
1. The geography of Africa and topics in African history
3. Imperialism in Africa
4. African nationalism and the drive towards independence
5. African politics
6. African social systems
7. Africa’s environmental problems
8. Religion in Africa
9. African economies
10. Women in Africa
11. Africa’s health issues
12. Education in Africa
13. African technology, music, and art
14. African literature
Eustace Palmer is Emeritus Professor of English and erstwhile Coordinator of Africana Studies at Georgia College and State University, USA. He was born in Sierra Leone, and taught at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, for several years, before relocating to the United States. He is one of the pioneer critics of African literature and is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities in that field.
"Captivating, extremely well written and informative about various aspects of Africa."
Dwight Call, Emeritus Vice President for International Education, Georgia College and State University, USA
"Palmer’s encyclopedic analysis covers the African continent from her earliest beginnings to the mixed socio-economic difficulties of the contemporary Nation-State. Scholars, students (at all levels), and enthusiasts will find this text an unmatched exploration of the continent’s achievements and failings, her complicity in her predation, and the appalling choices that hold back the realization of immense potentialities today. We witness the marginalization of Women and the Poor, elite gains in the plunder of resources, and Civil/Military repression partly relieved by limited corrective IMF strictures followed by sputtering political renewal in recent years. We proceed from pyramids to modern architecture; from Griot to Handel; from traditional dancing to ballet; from pre-colonial drumming and flutes to the cello. We are conducted from village Koranic education, through the seminal University of Timbuktu, Tutuola, Achebe, Laye and Wa Thiongo to Nwapa, Dangaremba and Soyinka. In all, a breathless pace, but with glorious compensations in profound erudition."
Mac Dixon-Fyle, Professor Emeritus of History, DePauw University, USA
"Palmer’s long overdue detailed book, Africa: An Introduction, provides in-depth information to the serious student who wants first-hand knowledge about various aspects of Africa from its history to slavery to imperialism to social systems to women to health issues to literature. The book provides a foundation for what happened on the continent of Africa to what is happening now. It is a much-needed resource due to increased interest in Africa from the academic front to political, social, and economic concerns."
Mary Mears, Associate Professor of English, Middle Georgia State University, University System of Georgia Africa Council, Chair, USA
"The cross-cultural and international impact of Africa: An Introduction on a new generation of Africans and Africanists will be inevitable because of the author’s sheer grasp of interdisciplinary studies and his very compelling way of providing evidence to highlight some important, but often neglected, cornerstones of the African experience. Depicting the wide variety of histories, cultural and religious traditions, social mores, and peoples of Africa, Palmer’s highly readable and very well-informed book is a thoughtful and completely reliable guide to understanding a huge and complicated continent, its peoples, and events that have led to its present condition. The author clearly knows how to explore and present the ambiguous, beautiful, but oftentimes disastrous, histories of his beloved Africa."
Abioseh Michael Porter, Ph.D., Professor of English, Drexel University, USA