The African Today: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The African Today

1st Edition

By Diedrich Westermann


358 pages

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Originally published in 1934, and inevitably a product of the time in which it was published this book nevertheless remains an important volume in African sociology and psychology. Topics such as race, economics, family and kinship, tribal organization, ritual and the supernatural, language and education are discussed in a balanced way, especially given the era of publication.

Table of Contents

1. Anthropology and Practical Work in Africa 2. Man and Race in Africa 3. Some Observations on the Negro's Mind 4. The Economic Bases of Life 5. Arts and Crafts 6. Life in the Family 7. The Group and the Individual 8. Old and New Governments 9. The Supernatural World 10. Education and Missions 11. Language and Education 12. Disintegration and Reintegration 12. The Clash of Races

About the Author

Diedrich Hermann Westermann was a German Africanist and ethnologist . He belongs, together with Carl Meinhof , to the founders of scientific African studies , whose first chair he held for 24 years. Westermann did an apprenticeship as a postmistress after school before applying to the North German Mission in Bremen . From there he was sent to the Mission Seminar in Basel in 1885 . In addition to teaching he taught himself without permission autodidactic Arabic. In 1900 he received the assignment to the German colony Togo . He began his ministry in Ghana today and learned the Ewe language. He became the first European to become a competent speaker. An illness forced him to travel home in 1903.

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on or available as pdfs from the publishers.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies