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Cosmopolitan Africa


Trevor R. Getz

Publication Date - 03 August 2012

ISBN: 9780199764709

128 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

The African World Histories series enriches the study of African history by providing an indigenous, problems-based perspective on the past


Cosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, offers an alternative interpretation of the 175 years leading up to the formal colonization of Africa by Europeans. In this brief and affordable text, author and series editor Trevor R. Getz demonstrates how Africans pursued lives, constructed social settings, forged trading links, and imagined worlds that were sophisticated, flexible, and well adapted to the increasingly global and fast-paced interactions of this period. Getz's interpretation of a "cosmopolitan Africa" is based on careful reading of Africans' oral histories and traditions, written documents, and images of or from the eighteenth century. Examining this time period from both social and cultural perspectives, Cosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, helps students to re-envision African societies in the time before colonization.

About the Author(s)

Trevor R. Getz is Professor of History at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Abina and the Important Men (OUP, 2011) and Slavery and Reform in West Africa (2004), and coauthor of textbooks in world and African history.


"This is a most welcome addition to the existing literature. Cosmopolitan Africa encourages students to think not just about a key period in the history of Africa, but in doing so, it allows a rethinking of key concepts that have not been traditionally used in our perceptions of the African past."--Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia, Montclair State University

"By emphasizing the cosmopolitan nature of many African societies during the formative period for modernity, Getz succeeds in shredding some of the old and tired stereotypes that habitually removed Africa from the grand narrative of world history."--Maxim Matusevich, Seton Hall University

Table of Contents

    Series Introduction

    Chapter 1: Ordering their worlds
    A Place to begin
    Spirit power and state power in Burganda
    Xhosa worlds: homestad, neighborhood, kingdom, ancestors
    Matriclans and entrepreneurs in the making of the Asante state
    Titles and lineages in Igbo-speaking societies
    Imperial Tunis
    Reigning in greed and anarchy in BaKongo and Jaga state and society
    Feature: Beatriz of Saint Anthony

    Chapter 2: Global Africa in an oceanic era
    An Oceanic era
    Mediterranean Africa
    Atlantic Africa
    Indian Ocean Africa
    Feature: The Chronicles of Pate and 19th century Swahili identity

    Chapter 3: Spiritual belief and practice in cosmopolitan Africa
    African "world" and African "traditional" religions
    African Islam in the eighteenth century
    African Christianity and Protestant evangelism
    Feature: The Xhosa Cattle-Killing

    Chapter 4: African economies and the industrial revolution
    Production and productivity in late eighteenth century Africa
    Africans and the industrial revolution
    Settlers, peasants, and plantations
    Feature: Muhammad Ali's Egypt

    Chapter 5: Africans write back
    Men and women in the middle?
    Egyptian intellectuals on France and Islam
    The Abbé Boilat
    James Africanus Horton
    The "educated men" of the Fante Confederation
    Jan Tzatzoe in Britain
    Towards colonialism?

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