Cosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, offers an alternative interpretation of the 175 years leading up to the formal colonization of Africa by Europeans. In this brief and affordable text, author and series editor Trevor R. Getz demonstrates how Africans pursued lives, constructed social settings, forged trading links, and imagined worlds that were sophisticated, flexible, and wCosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, offers an alternative interpretation of the 175 years leading up to the formal colonization of Africa by Europeans. In this brief and affordable text, author and series editor Trevor R. Getz demonstrates how Africans pursued lives, constructed social settings, forged trading links, and imagined worlds that were sophisticated, flexible, and well adapted to the increasingly global and fast-paced interactions of this period. Getz's interpretation of a "cosmopolitan Africa" is based on careful reading of Africans' oral histories and traditions, written documents, and images of or from the eighteenth century. Examining this time period from both social and cultural perspectives, Cosmopolitan Africa, 1700-1875, helps students to re-envision African societies in the time before colonization....
|Title||:||Cosmopolitan Africa: 1700-1875|
|Number of Pages||:||128 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Cosmopolitan Africa: 1700-1875 Reviews
Full disclosure: The author, Trevor Getz was a teacher of mine. He assigned this textbook as required reading for his class, so I read this in a classroom setting, with lots of opportunities to ask him questions about the book. It is possible and/or very likely that I have a more full fleshed out understanding of the material contained in this book than one might be able to gather if they were reading it on their own, or even in a different classroom setting. And finally, Dr. Getz was one of my favourite teachers, and that of course biases me in favor of his writing. Now, with all that out in the open, on to the review.The introduction to this book clearly identifies it as a textbook. And, let's be real--who gets super passionate about textbooks? I'm a devoted student, but even I'm not usually so nerdy that I have strong feelings about my textbooks. Despite that, I ended up quite fond of this short little book. This book is trying to do and be a lot of things--a concise history of an entire continent would be difficult enough, yet Cosmopolitan Africa is trying to be short, and introductory, while also presenting a complex narrative that challenges commonly held (and taught) notions and stories of Africa. That is a tall order, and to be honest, some parts of the book are more successful at this goal than others, as I definitely found aspects of the book a bit challenging to fully understand. One of the biggest issues was the ways Getz talks about people and geopolitical boundaries. He would often alternate the terms he was using to refer to a specific group of people. For example, when talking about a specific group of people located in modern-day Nigeria, he alternated between the phrases "The Igbo speaking people", "The people of the Niger River Delta" or by referring to their specific clan or tribe names. It's clear that he did this to make his prose less monotonous and repetitive, which is reasonable and appreciated. Yet with my near non-existent understanding of African Geography, I found it hard for me to visualize who he was talking about, where they lived, and sometimes I was unclear if he was even talking about the same people from paragraph to paragraph. To combat this, I turned to the internet to find maps to look at while doing my homework. Due to this, I feel that more maps would have made this book more accessible. Despite this gripe, Cosmopolitan African does actually succeed in creating a convincing and complex alternative narrative history to the African continent. I certainly feel more informed about both actual African history, and the racism implicit in a lot of the stories we are constantly told about Africa. For example, did you know that pre-colonialism, most of the people who lived in Ghana lived longer, and had a healthier diet than people in Europe at the same time? This fact is held in stark contrast to the commonly held notions of Africans as tribal people, hunting with spears and wearing loincloths.While I feel this book might be difficult to understand outside of a classroom setting, I also think it's short enough and detailed enough that it would be a helpful introduction to anyone curious about Pan-African History.Sidenote: I wanted to include a small anecdote about Dr. Getz that I found very endearing. The trope of a teacher writing a shitty/expensive/superfluous textbook and then assigning it so they can make more money is a pretty common one. On the first day of class, Dr. Getz offered to give every student 75 cents as a refund on the purchase of their book, as he says that's about how much he gets paid per book. I found that touching--it was clear to me then, that he assigned this book because he genuinely believed it would benefit his students to read it, not because of any desire for monetary gain. Like I said, I really liked him.