Writing histories of contemporary Africa

TitleWriting histories of contemporary Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsS.D.K. Ellis
Secondary TitleThe journal of African history
Pagination1 - 26
Date Published2002///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, historiography, history

This essay argues that historians need to engage with the history of contemporary Africa both as a way of throwing new light on Africa's more remote past and as a way of understanding the present. It considers how a new generation of works on Africa's contemporary history might be written. Most of the examples chosen concern Africa south of the Sahara, but some of the remarks may also apply to North Africa. The essay briefly discusses some of the techniques used in writing contemporary history before going on to examine particular themes that could be addressed in regard to Africa. The second half of the essay concerns the sources that historians of contemporary Africa have at their disposal. Here it is argued that, although sources are abundant, they are not always of a type that historians feel comfortable in using. This may have an effect on the way historians insert Africa in the time-scales generally used in world history, just as it is having an effect on the way in which Africans tend to think of themselves in relation to their own past. Notes, ref., sum

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9513
Citation Key1809