Ahlman J.


Ghana: A Political and Social History


Zed Books




What does it mean to write a "national history"? What does it mean to write a national history of Ghana spanning a so-called modern era largely defined by the 19th and 20th centuries? Neither of these concepts as commonly defined in the West--neither the nation nor the modern era--sits comfortably on Ghana's historical shoulders.

Here renowned history scholar Jeffrey Ahlman shows that both of these concepts, as well as the very notions of the "Gold Coaster" or the "Ghanaian," are moving targets. All are deployed strategically for some and, at times, just as strategically against others as those living in what eventually becomes Ghana seek to make their way through the changing realities of the 19th and 20th centuries. Foregrounding the sometimes overlapping, sometimes divergent, and sometimes contradictory nature of Ghanaian cultural origin stories through discussions of marriage, race, and dress; of cocoa as a cultural system; of the cultural politics of chieftaincy; and of other contemporary markers of Ghanaian identity, Ghana: A Political and Social History distills decades of work by scholars―Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian alike. Putting such work in conversation with a wide array of archival, oral, journalistic, and governmental sources both ccolonial and postcolonial, this book provides a comprehensive overview of Ghanaian history while providing fresh insights into the limitations of those histories.

For its comprehensive coverage and deliberately accessible style, this book is a must-read not only for students of African history and African studies more generally, but also for anyone interested in how Western-led concepts such as "the nation" and "national history" fit onto--or don't fit onto--non-Western historical experiences.

Ключевые слова: Африка, Гана, история, культура, общество.


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