- The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History
- List of Contributors
- Introduction African Histories: Past, Present, and Future
- Ecology and Environment
- Demography and Disease
- African Slave Trades in Global Perspective
- States and Statelessness
- Ethnicity and Identity
- Warfare and the Military
- The African Diaspora
- African Colonial States
- Law, Crime, and Punishment in Colonial Africa
- Work and Migration
- Between the Present and History: African Nationalism and Decolonization
- Indigenous African Religions
- New Religious Movements
- Education and Literacy
- Women and Gender
- Urbanization and Urban Cultures
- Health and Healing
- Economic Growth
- Visual Cultures
- Music in Modern African History
- African Literary Histories and History in African Literatures
- Communications and Media in African History
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter offers a series of approaches to, and questions about, the different types of historical engagement to be found in African literatures. History, in African literatures, is not a term that applies simply to narratives that engage with the past: African literatures offer historians examples of the imagination in history and the imagination as history. The chapter proposes a three-tiered methodology: first, consideration of the time and place of literary production; second, consideration of the ways in which works of literature engage with the concepts of time, memory, and historical consciousness; and third, consideration of the temporal and geographical distances separating literary works from their current audiences.
Stephanie Newell has published widely on West African literatures, West African cultural history, and African popular literatures. Her books include Ghanaian Popular Fiction: ‘Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal Life’ (Oxford: James Currey, 2000), Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), West African Literatures: Ways of Reading (2006), The Forger’s Tale: The Search for ‘Odeziaku’ (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2006), and the forthcoming A History of Anonymity in Colonial West African Newspapers.
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