100 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Africa about their New Books

New Books in African Studies New Books Network

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    • 4.0 • 4 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Africa about their New Books

    Becky L. Schulthies, "Channeling Moroccanness: Language and the Media of Sociality" (Fordham UP, 2020)

    Becky L. Schulthies, "Channeling Moroccanness: Language and the Media of Sociality" (Fordham UP, 2020)

    What does it mean to connect as a people through mass media? This book approaches that question by exploring how Moroccans engage communicative failure as they seek to shape social and political relations in urban Fez. Over the last decade, laments of language and media failure in Fez have focused not just on social relations that used to be and have been lost but also on what ought to be and had yet to be realized. Such laments have transpired in a range of communication channels, from objects such as devotional prayer beads and remote controls; to interactional forms such as storytelling, dress styles, and orthography; to media platforms like television news, religious stations, or WhatsApp group chats.
    Channeling Moroccanness: Language and the Media of Sociality (Fordham UP, 2020) examines these laments as ways of speaking that created Moroccanness, the feeling of participating in the ongoing formations of Moroccan relationality. Rather than furthering the discourse about Morocco’s conflict between liberal secularists and religious conservatives, this ethnography shows the subtle range of ideologies and practices evoked in Fassi homes to calibrate Moroccan sociality and political consciousness.
    Dr. Becky Schulthies is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She is trained as a linguistic anthropologist, with areas of interest including Arabic language ideologies, graphic sensibilities, social media discourse, and, more recently, human- plant semiotic ideologies. She has previously coedited, with Donna Lee Bowen and Evelyn Early, the third edition of Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).
    Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub.
    Fatima Tariq co-hosted the episode. She is a masters' student in Near Eastern Studies at NYU. Fatima is interested in translation studies, Arabic pedagogy, and decolonial thought. She is an ambivalent linguistic anthropologist and an aspiring Arabic-English literary translator.
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    • 59 min
    C. Decker and E. McMahon, "The Idea of Development in Africa: A History" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    C. Decker and E. McMahon, "The Idea of Development in Africa: A History" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    The Idea of Development in Africa: A History (Cambridge UP, 2020) challenges prevailing international development discourses about the continent, by tracing the history of ideas, practices, and 'problems' of development used in Africa. In doing so, it offers an innovative approach to examining the history and culture of development through the lens of the development episteme, which has been foundational to the 'idea of Africa' in western discourses since the early 1800s. The study weaves together an historical narrative of how the idea of development emerged with an account of the policies and practices of development in colonial and postcolonial Africa. The book highlights four enduring themes in African development, including their present-day ramifications: domesticity, education, health, and industrialization. Offering a balance between historical overview and analysis of past and present case studies, Elisabeth McMahon and Corrie Decker demonstrate that Africans have always co-opted, challenged, and reformed the idea of development, even as the western-centric development episteme presumes a one-way flow of ideas and funding from the West to Africa.
    Elisa Prosperetti is a Visiting Assistant Professor in African history at Mount Holyoke College. Her research focuses on the connected histories of education and development in postcolonial West Africa. Contact her at here.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Steven Serels, "The Impoverishment of the African Red Sea Littoral, 1640–1945" (Palgrave, 2018)

    Steven Serels, "The Impoverishment of the African Red Sea Littoral, 1640–1945" (Palgrave, 2018)

    The African Red Sea Littoral, currently divided between Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, is one of the poorest regions in the world. But the pastoralist communities indigenous to this region were not always poor—historically, they had access to a variety of resources that allowed them to prosper in the harsh, arid environment. This access was mediated by a robust moral economy of pastoralism that acted as a social safety net. 
    In The Impoverishment of the African Red Sea Littoral, 1640–1945 (Palgrave, 2018), Steven Serels charts the erosion of this moral economy, a slow-moving process that began during the Little Ice Age mega-drought of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and continued through the devastating famines of the twentieth century. By examining mass sedentarization after the Second World War as merely the latest manifestation of an inter-generational environmental and economic crisis, this book offers an innovative lens for understanding poverty in northeastern Africa within the Indian Ocean World.
    Dr. Steven Serels is a Research Fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. He holds a Master’s (2007) and a Ph.D. in History (2012), both from McGill University. He previously was a fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg’s Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien. He is the author of Starvation and the State: Famine, Slavery and Power in Sudan 1883-1956 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
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    • 59 min
    Tara McIndoe-Calder, "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe: Background, Impact, and Policy" (Palgrave, 2019)

    Tara McIndoe-Calder, "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe: Background, Impact, and Policy" (Palgrave, 2019)

    In the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, Adam Fergusson's When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyperinflation became an unlikely publishing hit more than three decades after its release. Yet, even though few people knew the details of the 1923 crisis, stories and images from interbellum Germany are things of legend.
    The same cannot be said of the many other hyperinflationary episodes in the past century and especially the two most severe: the first in postwar Hungary and the second just 13 years ago in Zimbabwe. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe: Background, Impact, and Policy (Palgrave, 2019) investigates what drove a process that, at its peak, led to 80-billion-percent inflation and the death of the country’s money. Tara McIndoe Calder, who lived through the crisis and now works as an economist in Dublin, examines what happened in her homeland but also the wider meaning of hyperinflation, how to measure it accurately, its common causes and how to stop it.
    Tara McIndoe Calder has been an economist at the Central Bank of Ireland since 2011 specialising in debt issues, after completing a PhD at Trinity College Dublin on money demand, aid shocks, and the impact of land reform in Zimbabwe.
    *Her own book recommendations are Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez (Vintage, 2019), and both Half of a Yellow Sun and Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fourth Estate, 2014)
    Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors.
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    • 48 min
    Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, "Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History" (Routledge, 2020)

    Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, "Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History" (Routledge, 2020)

    This original research on the forgotten Libyan genocide specifically recovers the hidden history of the fascist Italian concentration camps (1929-1934) through the oral testimonies of Libyan survivors. Ali Abdullatif Ahmida's book Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History (Routledge, 2020) links the Libyan genocide through cross-cultural and comparative readings to the colonial roots of the Holocaust and genocide studies.
    Between 1929 and 1934, thousands of Libyans lost their lives, directly murdered and victim to Italian deportations and internments. They were forcibly removed from their homes, marched across vast tracks of deserts and mountains, and confined behind barbed wire in 16 concentration camps. It is a story that Libyans have recorded in their Arabic oral history and narratives while remaining hidden and unexplored in a systematic fashion, and never in the manner that has allowed us to comprehend and begin to understand the extent of their existence.
    Based on the survivors' testimonies, which took over ten years of fieldwork and research to document, this new and original history of the genocide is a key resource for readers interested in genocide and Holocaust studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, and African and Middle Eastern studies.

    Jeff Bachman is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Narrating Africa in South Asia

    Narrating Africa in South Asia

    Narrating Africa in South Asia (Special Journal Issue: South Asian History and Culture, Volume 11, Issue 4, 2020) explores the multifaceted and longue durée history of the African diaspora in South Asia. The themes of the articles cover many grounds, such as race, religion, social and intellectual history, space and place, social networks and globality, memory studies, and identity politics, among others. Narrating Africa in South Asia situates the African diaspora in the South Asian subcontinent against the broader backdrop of global mobilizations against systemic racism, economic inequality, inaccessible justice, and colonial educational system, among others.
    Mahmood Kooria is an Assistant Professor at the History Department of Ashoka University. Earlier, he was a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), and the Dutch Institute in Morocco (NIMAR). He did his Ph.D. at the Leiden University Institute for history on the circulation of Islamic legal ideas and texts across the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean worlds. With Michael N. Pearson, he has edited Malabar in the Indian Ocean World: Cosmopolitanism in a Maritime Historical Region (Oxford University Press, 2018). His research specializations are the premodern Indian Ocean world, Afro-Asian connections, matrilineal Muslims, and Islamic legal history. His broader research interests include the premodern interactions between Abrahamic and Indic religions, global mobility of law, and Islamic intellectual history.
    Khatija Khader completed her Ph.D. titled ‘Interrogating Identity: A study of Siddi and Hadrami Diaspora in Hyderabad City, India’ at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her Ph.D. and publications explore the histories of migration of the Siddi and the seafaring Hadrami diaspora in the Western India Ocean and engage with concepts like diaspora, race, and homeland/s in a non-western location. In the past, Dr. Khader has worked with various international non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International, Arab League, and OHCHR on issues related to Human Rights, Gender and Foreign Policy. She is currently teaching at the Centre for International Relations (CIR) at the Islamic University of Science and Technology, Jammu and Kashmir.
    Sofia Péquignot is a Ph.D. candidate and lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Toulouse – Jean Jaurès, France, currently writing a dissertation entitled Black India: The Social Constructions of Siddis, African Descendants in India. Her research focuses on Siddis’ ongoing processes of unification. These are based on a common identification with African origins, building on existing and newly emerging networks of Indians of African descent at different levels: local, regional, national and transnational. She examines the various social constructions enabling these unification processes, reflecting the ways Siddi people are constructing and negotiating their place in Indian society, but also on an international level, an echo of other global movements.
    Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
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    • 1 hr 41 min

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