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Directions and Provocations in African Studies


Covering a diversity of topics, this article and chapter collection explores key areas of interest and relevance in African Studies. From politics to literature, sociology to media, economics to gender, technology to the diaspora, this select research collection traverses disciplines and advances leading-edge themes. Browse these contributions to investigate new takes on African literature, digital futures, radical and revolutionary change, the middle class, diasporic formations, African perspectives, gender dynamics, and much more.

View our full portfolio of African Studies journals and filter to find the specific topics and articles that fit your interests. Looking for textbooks, handbooks, or monographs? Browse our comprehensive collection of African Studies books and book series — and enjoy a discount + free shipping at checkout.

The articles and book chapters below are free-access via this page up until 31 December 2019.

Recentering African Perspectives

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
The ‘science’ of superiority: Africa and scholarly colonial assumptionsSteven FriedmanJournal of Contemporary African Studies2018
What/who is still missing in International Relations scholarship? Situating Africa as an agent in IR theorisingIsaac Odoom & Nathan AndrewThird World Quarterly2016
Decolonising Universities in South Africa: Rigged Spaces?Cheryl HendricksInternational Journal of African Renaissance Studies2018
The future of African Studies: what we can do to keep Africa at the heart of our researchInsa NolteJournal of African Cultural Studies 2019
Confronting the Colonial Library: Teaching Political Studies Amidst Calls for a Decolonised CurriculumSally MatthewsPolitikon 2018

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Suggested further reading: "Behind the Casement report (1903–4): Guides, interpreters, and interviewees" in African Testimony in the Movement for Congo Reform: The Burden of Proof (2018). Chapter by Robert Burroughs.

Africa's Digital Futures

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
Do African digital natives wear glass skirts?Teju ColeJournal of the African Literature Association 2017
Africa and the Digital Savior ComplexBhakti ShringarpureJournal of African Cultural Studies 2018
Digital media, territory, and diaspora: the shape-shifting spaces of Eritrean politicsVictoria BernalJournal of African Cultural Studies 2018
Speaking for the dead: testimonies, witnesses and the representations of Gukurahundi atrocities in new mediaMphathisi NdlovuJournal of African Cultural Studies2017
Rethinking publics in Africa in a digital ageSharath Srinivasan, Stephanie Diepeveen & George KarekwaivananeJournal of Eastern African Studies 2018
“Who are you?”: representation, identification, and self-definition in Black PantherAnthony Michael D’AgostinoSafundi2018
The future is digital: an introduction to African digital artsLizelle BisschoffCritical African Studies 2017

Suggested further reading:"The mobile ecosystem and internet access on the African continent: Asymmetry and the gender digital divide" in African Women, ICT and Neoliberal Politics: The Challenge of Gendered Digital Divides to People-Centered Governance (2018). Chapter by Assata Zerai.

Spotlight on East Africa

The African Studies Association of Africa's Biennial Conference was held for the first time in East Africa this year, at the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya (24-26 October 2019). Enjoy the opportunity to dive deeper into the literature, culture, and arts of the region with access to the below articles from Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies.
Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
Journeying into Eastern African Literary and Cultural StudiesTom Odhiambo & Godwin SiunduEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2014
“Dwelling-in-Travel”: Of Ships, Trains and Planes in M.G. Vassanji's FictionTina SteinerEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2014
Agamben at Legon, or, Teaching “Theory” in an African UniversityAkin AdesokanEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2017
Hostile Witnesses and Queer Life in Kenyan Prison WritingTaiwo Adetunji OsinubiEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2015
Popular Cultural Memory in Chris Abani’s GracelandChristopher OumaEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2017
Presence, Agency and Popularity: Kenyan “Socialites”, Femininities and Digital MediaDina LigagaEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2017

Radical Change in Africa

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
‘We paid a heavy price for hosting them’: Villagers and Freedom Fighters in Mgagao, TanzaniaArrigo PallottiSouth African Historical Journal2018
Nationalism and Internationalism in the Liberation Struggle in Mozambique: The Role of the FRELIMO’s Solidarity Network in ItalyCorrado TornimbeniSouth African Historical Journal2018
Connections 2: Roape Workshop in Dar es Salaam, 16–17 April 2018Janet Bujra et alReview of African Political Economy2019
The rush for land in Africa: Resource grabbing or green revolution?Ward Anseeuw South African Journal of International Affairs2013
Migration, African migrants, and the world: towards a radical political economyFranklin Obeng-OdoomAfrican Identities 2016

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Suggested further reading: "From peaceful to non-peaceful protests: the trajectory of women's movements in the Niger Delta" in The Unfinished Revolution in Nigeria’s Niger Delta: Prospects for Environmental Justice and Peace (2018). Chapter by Abosede Omowumi Babatunde.

Rethinking African Literature

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear

Literary Prizes, Writers’ Organisations and Canon Formation in Africa
Doseline KiguruAfrican Studies2016
Thematic milestones and literary explorations of black existentiality in black literaturePsalms ChinakaJournal of the African Literature Association2017
The writer as social thinkerWale AdebanwiJournal of Contemporary African Studies2014
Writing (as) Africans — French Fiction Between Empathy and OrientalismOana PanaïtéEastern African Literary and Cultural Studies2017
‘To See Us As We See Ourselves’: John Tengo Jabavu and the Politics of the Black PeriodicalKhwezi MkhizeJournal of Southern African Studies2018

Suggested further reading:"Decolonising the Afropolitan: Intra-African Migrations in Post-2000 Literature" in Routledge Handbook of African Literature (2019). Chapter by Rebecca Fasselt.

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Gender in Africa

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
Towards African-centred theories of masculinitySakhumzi MfecaneSocial Dynamics: A journal of African studies2018
Gender and Popular Imaginaries in AfricaLynda Gichanda Spencer, Dina Ligaga & Grace A MusilaAgenda2018
The emergent middle class in contemporary South Africa: Examining and comparing rival approachesRonelle Burger, Cindy Lee Steenekamp, Servaas van der Berg & Asmus ZochDevelopment Southern Africa2014
Sexuality and gender politics in Mozambique: Rethinking gender in AfricaSusanne M. Klausen Canadian Journal of African Studies2012
Decolonising gender and peacebuilding: feminist frontiers and border thinking in AfricaHeidi HudsonPeacebuilding2016

Suggested further reading: "I was really disgusted at seeing healthy young boys playing Ping-pong: Ping-pong and masculinity in post-World War II Nigeria" in Sports in African History, Politics, and Identity Formation (2019). Chapter by Michael Gennaro.

Urban Africa

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
Introduction: Re-Imagining Cities in AfricaTill Förster & Fiona SiegenthalerSocial Dynamics2018
Cultural identity in the peri-urban African landscape: a case study from Pikine, SenegalThomas M. Hanlon, Amy Krakowka Richmond, Joseph Shelzi & Garth MyersAfrican Geographical Review2017
Cities Beyond Networks: The Status of Water Services for the Urban Poor in African CitiesHorman ChitongeAfrican Studies2014
Where to draw the line: Data problems and other difficulties estimating urbanisation in AfricaJacqueline Borel-SaladinDevelopment Southern Africa2016
Mathematical model showing how socioeconomic dynamics in African cities could widen or reduce inequalityObiora Cornelius Collins, Thokozani Silas Simelane & Kevin Jan DuffyAfrican Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development 2019

New Narratives for the African Diaspora 

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
The “Outsider Within”: counter-narratives of the “New” African diaspora in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah (2013)Shane A. McCoyJournal of the African Literature Association2018
The African second generation in the United States – identity and transnationalism: an introductionKassahun KebedeAfrican and Black Diaspora2018
The politics of AfropolitanismAmatoritsero EdeJournal of African Cultural Studies2016
Thinking Africa + the diaspora differently: theories, practices, imaginariesHarry Garuba Social Dynamics: A journal of African studies2012

Suggested further reading: "Diaspora intellectuals, alienation and the production of Africa in the Euro-American academy" in Global Africans: Race, Ethnicity and Shifting Identities (2017). Chapter by Moses Ochonu.

Mobility and Migration

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
A comparative political economy of regional migration and labour mobility in West and Southern AfricaHannah Cross & Lionel CliffeReview of African Political Economy 2017
Migration, African migrants, and the world: towards a radical political economyFranklin Obeng-OdoomAfrican Identities 2016
Family dynamics in transnational African migration to Europe: an introductionReinhilde Sotiria König & Marina de Regt African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 2009
Local villages and global networks: the language and migration experiences of African skilled migrant academicsEllen HurstGlobalisation, Societies and Education 2014
Common agenda or Europe’s agenda? International protection, human rights and migration from the Horn of AfricaHeaven Crawley & Brad K. BlitzJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 2018

The African Middle Class

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
(Middle-) Class analysis in Africa: does it work?Roger SouthallReview of African Political Economy2018
The Evolution of the Middle Class During Nearly Two Decades of Democracy in South AfricaHennie Kotzè & Carlos García-RiveroPolitikon: South African Journal of Political Studies 2018
The uneasy boundary work of ‘coconuts’ and ‘black diamonds’: middle-class labelling in post-apartheid South AfricaLieve de ConinckCritical African Studies2018
What middle class? The shifting and dynamic nature of class positionGrace KhunouDevelopment Southern Africa 2014
Not marrying in South Africa: consumption, aspiration and the new middle classDeborah JamesAnthropology Southern Africa 2016

Suggested further reading: "The dynamics of the middle class in Africa" in The Emerging Middle Class in Africa (2014). Chapter by Charles Leyeka Lufumpa, Maurice Mubila & Mohamed Safouane Ben Aïssa.

Rethinking Perspectives on Southern African Histories

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleYear
Zimbabwe’s Liberation War and the Everyday in Honde Valley, 1975 to 1979Enocent Msindo & Nicholas NyachegaSouth African Historical Journal 2019
An Accommodation of Patriarchs: Theophilus Shepstone and the Foundations of the System of Native Administration in NatalJeff GuyJournal of Natal and Zulu History2018
Imagining the Future through the Past: A Political History of Constitution Hill since 1983Temba John Dawson MiddelmannSouth African Historical Journal 2019
An In(ter)vention of Tradition: Medical Male Circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, 2009–2016Liz TimbsJournal of Natal and Zulu History 2018
Attempting to Assert African Agency: Kenneth Kaunda, the Nixon Administration, and Southern Africa, 1968–1973Andy DeRocheSouth African Historical Journal 2019
The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of EmpireAntoinette Burton, Faisal Devji, Mrinalini Sinha, Jon Soske, Ashwin Desai & Goolam VahedJournal of Natal and Zulu History 2018

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