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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Trevor-Roper Trap of the Imperialism of History: An Essay
Author:Fuglestad, Finn
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
History and Exploration
Abstract:In the early 1960s, the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper proclaimed that precolonial black Africa had no history. In 1969 he repeated his contention by putting the label 'unhistoric' on the whole of the African continent. Although it is no longer deemed respectable to put the label 'unhistoric' on the African continent, it is still not self-evident to everyone that black Africa has indeed a history worthy of consideration. The author argues that this is partly caused by the fact that Africanists have contented themselves with opposing the viewpoint of the Trevor-Ropers of this world with a sort of scandalized moral indignation. The opportunity to investigate the matter by asking questions about the nature of history and the existing definition of that science in relation to what is known about the past of black Africa has never been seized upon. The author further argues that most Africanists have adopted a conceptual framework for the study of African history which has been derived almost entirely from European history. He concludes that every culture is entitled to be understood as far as possible within the framework of its own values and norms. Notes, ref.