Review: Emmanuel Iduma on The Great Kingdoms of Africa
I used to think, until fairly recently, that the methods available to historians of the distant African past were of a different sort than those within the reach of their European counterparts. As a citizen of a country once colonized by the British, I felt it was perhaps impossible to know of an African past without looking at it through the meddlesome empires of Europe.
This perspective is, in a sense, based on an incomplete conception of time. The fact that most African nations entered the modern era upon independence from their various colonizers led retrospective interpreters to categorize African history in a tripartite fashion, pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial, situating colonialism as the apogee toward and away from which all historical events led.
What changed my perspective—and lifted the fog of ignorance—is the recent book Great Kingdoms of Africa, edited by John Parker.
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