Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Ohio University Press’s short histories of Africa series. I use them to teach my introductory-level African politics students about oppression, resistance, liberation and corruption, and I recommend the books to anyone who asks as an affordable and accessible introduction to a wide range of topics in African studies. Written by a diverse range of smart, expert authors, the volumes in the series provide short, easy-to-understand synopses of everything from the history of organizations like the Women’s League of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) to biographies of leaders from across the continent.
In last summer’s reading series, we featured Roy Doron and Toyin Falola’s biography of Nigerian playwright and protester Ken Saro-Wiwa.… Seguir leyendo »
The rise of northern Nigerian Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has garnered a great deal of attention from American policymakers in recent years. That interest compounded after the 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, an event that galvanized grass-roots anger and demands for an international response around the globe. As attention to the crisis grew, however, misunderstandings about the group’s origins, motives and connections (or lack thereof) to international Islamist extremist organizations have abounded.
Several new books provide important correctives to the many misperceptions about Boko Haram. In the next two installments of our African politics summer reading series, we’ll examine three of these books to try to develop a better understanding of the movement, its supporters and critics, and how ordinary northerners see themselves as Muslims and Nigerian citizens.… Seguir leyendo »
Often lauded by international observers, Rwanda’s gacaca courts have long been held up by their proponents as a model for successful, post-conflict reconciliation efforts. Confronted with the nearly impossible challenge of rebuilding a country after genocide, Rwanda needed a mechanism to hold those who committed genocide accountable in an efficient and effective manner. The solution was gacaca: a system of 12,000 community-based courts that sought to try genocide criminals while promoting forgiveness by victims, ownership of guilt by criminals, and reconciliation in communities as a way to move forward. While the organizers and leaders of the genocide were mostly sent for trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, gacaca courts tried more than 1 million ordinary people who served as the foot soldiers of the genocide.… Seguir leyendo »