Conceptualizing/ Re-conceptualizing Africa The Construction of African Historical Identity INTRODUCTION MAGHAN KEITA ¤ ABSTRACT How do we know Africa? How do we come to understand it? A key may lie in what, at rst glance, appear to be several disparate essays. Yet, these essays from their very beginning evoke William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on the invention of identity in the modern world. In that light, these works remind us, as Du Bois would, that the current invention of Africa is indeed a modern one; an identity con gured in numerous ways, with and without our interventions. These essays address this issue in terms of the ways in which Africa has been conceptualized, and, therefore, might be re-conceptualized. That, in part, is their challenge to the reader. Here, the explorations of that conceptualization and re-conceptualization range from East to West, and delve into internal and external possibilities. The essays also engage the ways in which the peoples we have come to identify as African might identify and de ne themselves. These pieces also speak to the uses to which these identities and de nitions might be put. The broader themes struck here will have resonance for many
Journal of Asian and African Studies (in 2002 continued as African and Asian Studies) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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