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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Some Perceptions on the Writing of African History, 1948-1992
Author:Vansina, JanISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Great Britain
United States
Subjects:history education
History and Exploration
Abstract:African history as an academic specialty was born in 1948, when Roland Oliver was chosen to teach what was henceforth officially called 'African history' by the then head of the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Professor Phillips. Oliver launched a graduate seminar on African history in 1950 and organized a first conference in London in 1953. The first doctorate by a West African was defended in 1965. The first historians were positivists. During 'the roaring sixties' the study of African history could follow two basic outlines. One was the SOAS or later Birmingham formula (1963): a special school dealing with Africa in which history was a centrepiece. Or one could take the Wisconsin model where all African subjects were integrated in existing departments and thus African history was housed within the history department (1960). The student upheavals of 1968-1970 produced a new kind of young intellectual. Works were published charging that the 'West' had underdeveloped Africa. Marxist scholars were rediscovered and the great debates about 'modes of production' began. Another trend beginning in the 1970s was the diversification of themes in African history. In the 1980s a new wave emerged, called 'introspection', postmodernism or poststructuralism.