Histories, Languages and Cultures of West Africa

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The West African Research Association (WARA) was founded for the purpose of promoting scholarly collaboration between American and West African researchers and to increase interest in international affairs among Americans through a reciprocal program of research exchange between scholars and institutions. It is the first institution of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, one of fifteen American overseas research centers around the world founded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with help from the Smithsonian Institute.

In June 1997, WARA held its first international symposium in Dakar, Senegal titled West Africa and the Global Challenge. Approximately 150 scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Africa attended this meeting, and the sessions were divided under three broad headings: The African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean; West African Research in History, Art, Languages, Religion, Culture, and Literature; and Contemporary Issues in Society, Environment, Technology, and Education.

This is a compilation of selected essays that were presented at the 1997 symposium. The work strives to achieve the views and discussions from the first annual WARA symposium and its continuing contribution to the ongoing dialogue of West African issues.


“This work is another vibrant testimony to the quality of intellectual inquiry that characterizes African studies and to the role of the West African Research Association (WARA) and its Center (WARC) in Dakar in promoting that activity ... As a collection, these papers can be read in many ways. Each has its message, quite independent of the others, and each is informed by a combination of research and reflection into the African condition. But together they also convey some important messages ... The largest lesson of all is that Africa is part of humanity as it marches through endless presents, leaving history behind it ... We hope that not only Africans and Africanists will read this collection, but also non-denizens and non-specialists who will learn from it about this continent but will also learn about if from themselves.” – (from the Foreword) Professor I. William Zartman, Johns Hopkins University and Founding Treasurer, West African Research Association

“The editors have brought together the best papers from a pioneering conference held at the only American overseas research center in Sub-Saharan Africa ... Some of the best cutting-edge research emerges in this collection, from academicians based in universities in South and North, on both sides of the Atlantic, but also from independent scholars in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences ... This work is a tour de force by a group of distinguished authors and up-and-coming writers. It will be very useful in courses in African and Diaspora ...” – Professor David Robinson, Michigan State University

“This volume is exciting for several reasons. Among the most salient is that it represents a first publication from a series of international meetings and gatherings which the WARA has organized around issues pertinent to the study of West Africa among both American and West African researchers ... If there is one great advantage to volumes such as this one, it lies in the bringing together of different, and often new, vibrant voices from various disciplines, colonial and post-colonial experiences ... The five sections representing chosen themes provide a really unusual and much needed collection of papers which together furnish a wide view of West Africa and important issues facing that region today.” – Professor Wendy Wilson Fall, Kent State University

Table of Contents

Foreword, Introduction
I. Language, Literature, and Identity in the African World
1. Between Cultures: Words, Schools, and Books in Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure and Albert Camus’ The First Man (Jane Alison Hale)
2. A Linguistic Legacy of the Diaspora and the empire: New Englishes in West Africa and the Caribbean (Ann Albuyeh)
3. Quelques indices pour l’étude de la dynamique sociolinguistique de Saint-Louis (Michelle Auzanneau)
4. Enhancing English Literacy Skills Through Literature: A Linguistics-Oriented Francophone African Perspective (Leonard A. Koussouhon)
II. Continuities and Discontinuities: West African History
1. The Fulani Jihad and their Rise to Power in Hausaland in the Nineteenth Century (Mohamed A. Nur-Awaleh)
2. Investigating Slavery and its Demise in West Africa (Andrew F. Clark)
3. West African Contributions to the Dutch Empire (Allison Blakely)
4. Sana Dimba Jata of Mansuan: A Network of Kinship and Political Links in Oio, Guinea-Bissau, during Colonial Conquest (1913) (Cornelia Giesing)
5. Ethnic Loyalties, National Choices, and International Oversight: The Politics of Independence in the British Trust Territories of Togoland and the Cameroons, 1955–1961 (Brian Digre)
III. Restoring the Dialogue between Africa and the Diaspora
1. International Affairs and the Sugar Industry: The Enslaved Body in Colonial Cuba (Linda M. Rodriguez Guglielmoni)
2. Taking Foot, Taking Flight, and Committing Suicide: Myth of Flying African (Angelita Reyes)
3. A propos de noir et de blanc: une lecture tranculturelle de l’expérience de Brutus dans The Emperor Jones d’Eugène O’Neil (Amadou Bissiri)
4. Mississippi, the Americas, and the Survival of African traditions (Adrian Anderson)
5. Images of Africa and the Caribbean in Derek Walcott’s Omeros
IV. Building Communities – Historical Issues and Contemporary Challenges
1. Les Griots du Kayoor: ont-ils un discourse abstrait sur la pédagogie
2. Child Labor and Household Survival Strategies in West Africa (Loretta E. Bass)
3. Community Development, health and Neuropsychology of African children (Michael J. Boivin)
4. Les Guérisseurs Malango du Siin: culte et savoir (Charles Katy)
5. Research on Divination: The Innovation and Adaptation of Traditional Religions in Response to the Contingencies of Contemporary Urban West Africa (Laura Grillo)
V. Democratization, Governance, and the Economy of Sustainable Development
1. Governance as Conflict Management (William Zartman)
2. Le gestion des relations inter-ethniques au Sénegal: stratégies administratives et identitaires (Geneviece Gasser)
3. Sharing a Scarce Resource for Regional Integration: The Case for West Africa’s Niger River (Kwadwo Joseph Sarfoh)
4. Réformes économiques et représentations du travail chez les salariés de l’enterprise sénégalaise (Alfred Inis Ndiaye)
English Index, Index Francais

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