Category Archives: Africa

The Slightly-More-Longue Duree

Historians and anthropologists studying sub-Saharan Africa are especially sensitive, for good reason, about linking current events on the continent to deep or precolonial histories. We’re all too intensely aware of the deep, sustained way that European colonialism represented African societies … Continue reading

Posted in Africa | 3 Comments

Crashing the Pity Party

If you’re genuinely interested in a critique of Black Studies (or similarly constructed interdisciplinary or identity-based programs of study), don’t give into the temptation of making a martyr out of a blogger whose real mistake was a lack of intellectual … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Politics | 10 Comments

The Four-Year Itch

We have a group of very smart, energetic, interesting students asking the college to divest from a list of fossil fuel companies. This puts me in the somewhat predictable situation of being the guy who fought for a cause when … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Politics, Swarthmore | 6 Comments

Kony Heads

I’m not alone in my fascination with the YouTube video Kony 2012. It splits me right down the middle, tears at opposing sides of my identity as an intellectual. When you’re opened at the middle, your heart is exposed. So … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Digital Humanities, Politics | 6 Comments

Memoirs from Africa: Paring Down a List

I’m preparing a year-long reading list of books about Africa for the Washington D.C. area Swarthmore alumni. I decided to constrain myself to memoirs or first-person perspective accounts. I decided to mostly concentrate on accounts from the last thirty years … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Swarthmore | 11 Comments

Why the Owl of Minerva Doesn’t Get Party Invitations After Dusk

I don’t do this very often, but I’m going to get a bit aggressive about disciplinary expertise for a second. William Easterly has an interesting post about the “mystery of the benevolent autocrat”, observing that while the highest growth rates … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Production of History | 5 Comments

Toilers in the Trope Workshop

One of my hopes for cultural history & media studies courses that I teach is that students will learn not just how to read, analyze and critique expressive culture but also get some sense of how to produce it, use … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Digital Humanities, Popular Culture, Production of History | 1 Comment

I’m Shocked, Shocked That There’s Hatred Going On Here

Ta-Nehisi Coates picks up on an NPR piece about government hostility towards homosexuals in Uganda, and an interesting comments thread follows. This is an issue that I’ve thought about for a long while, partly due to the influence of my … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Politics | 3 Comments

Looking Backwards

In a few weeks, I’m going to be talking about how searching as an act changes when the digitized texts you’re searching through are either highly specialized in their content or are from a distinctly different era of rhetoric and … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Digital Humanities, Information Technology and Information Literacy, Popular Culture | 1 Comment

Image of Africa courseblog

I’ve finally gotten my courseblog (and Twitter feed) for History 86, Image of Africa, fully set up. I’m really looking forward to this class: it’s become as much a class on the history of transmedia interactions as it is about … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Swarthmore | Comments Off on Image of Africa courseblog