Erskine ClarkeBy the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth Century Atlantic Odyssey

Basic Books, 2013

by Dan Kilbride on February 9, 2015

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[Cross-posted from New Books in American Studies] Jane Bayard Wilson and John Leighton Wilson were unlikely African missionaries, coming as they did from privileged slaveholding families in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively. Yet in 1834 they embarked on a nearly twenty-year adventure as Christian missionaries to two peoples in western Africa — the Grebo in Liberia, and the Mpongwe in present-day Gabon. Erskine Clarke‘s By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth Century Atlantic Odyssey (Basic Books, 2013) tells their story, but it also the tale of how profoundly different people in a globalizing world struggled, and sometimes succeeded, in reaching a common understanding. Even more than a model of Atlantic scholarship, By the Rivers of Water is a also a beautifully written study sure to engage readers interested in the exploding field of Atlantic history.

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Emilie CloatrePills for the Poorest: An Exploration of TRIPS and Access to Medication in Sub-Saharan Africa

February 9, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Medicine] Emilie Cloatre’s award-winning book, Pills for the Poorest: An Exploration of TRIPS and Access to Medication in Sub-Saharan Africa (Palgrave, 2013), locates the effects—and ineffectualness—of a landmark international agreement for healthcare: the World Trade Organization’s “Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.” Cloatre takes seriously the idea of TRIPS as a technology in […]

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Georges Nzongola-NtalajaPatrice Lumumba

February 2, 2015

Patrice Lumumba was a leader of the independence struggle, as well as the country’s first democratically elected prime minister, in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After a meteoric rise in the colonial civil service and the African political elite, he became a major figure in the decolonization movement of the 1950s. […]

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Elizabeth SchmidtForeign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror

January 21, 2015

Elizabeth Schmidt‘s Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2013) depicts the foreign political and military interventions in Africa during the periods of decolonization (1956-75) and the Cold War (1945-91), as well as the periods of state collapse (1991-2001) and the “global war on terror” (2001-10). In the […]

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Randy J. SparksWhere the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade

January 1, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in American Studies] A kind of biography of the town of Annamaboe, a major slave trading port on Africa’s Gold Coast, Randy J. Sparks‘s book Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade (Harvard University Press, 2014) focuses on the African women and men who were the crucial middle figures […]

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Clapperton C. MavhungaTransient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe

December 14, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Technology] Words have meaning. More specifically, the definitions attached to words shape our perspective on, and how we categorize, the things that we encounter. The words of “technology” and “innovation” are exemplars of how definitions impact perspectives. Ask most people what they think of when they hear these words, and most […]

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Cathy L. SchneiderPolice Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York

December 8, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Cathy L. Schneider is the author of Police Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). She is associate professor in the School of International Service at American University. Timeliness is not something that every scholarly book can claim, but Cathy Schneider has published a […]

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Michelle MoydViolent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa

December 4, 2014

In her imaginative and scrupulous book, Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Ohio University Press, 2014), historian Michelle Moyd writes about the askari, Africans soldiers recruited in the ranks of the German East African colonial army. Praised by Germans for their loyalty and courage, the askari were reviled by Tanzanians for the violence and disruptions the askari caused […]

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Lisa L. GezonDrug Effects: Khat in Biocultural and Socioeconomic Perspective

November 28, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Alcohol, Drugs, and Intoxicants] Khat, the fresh leaves of the plant Catha edulis, is a mild psycho-stimulant. It has been consumed in Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia for over one thousand years. Khat consumption is an important part of Yemeni social and political life.  During the early part of the twentieth century, Yemeni […]

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James D. Le SueurAlgeria Since 1989: Between Terror and Democracy

November 12, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in French Studies] “History doesn’t repeat itself,” so the saying goes, “but it does rhyme.”  This is particularly true in the recent history of the Middle East. As James D. Le Seuer, author of Algeria Since 1989: Between Terror and Democracy (Zed Books, 2010), explains in this interview, much of what we are seeing in, […]

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