Re: Fresh Africa material for teaching

Brian Michael Howell (bmhowell@ARTSCI.WUSTL.EDU)
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 13:36:52 -0600

On Thu, 2 Nov 1995, Lozier, John Douglas wrote:

> Co-listeros:
> Have you used or seen any fresh, new materials for teaching
> Sub-Saharan Africa? Maybe a good book for text or supplement, or
> a movie, or a World-wide Web page? Or, a discussion list?
> I would like to connect my students, and myself, with current activities
> including for example the work of NGO's, indigenous religious and political
> movements, missionaries, etc.
> I'm looking for encouraging stuff, to offset the generally dismal
> story that comes out of Africa. It is easy enough to find "realistic"
> stuff about genocide, kleptocracy, structural adjustment, etc. Especially
> great would be sources dealing a little bit hopefully about this dismal
> stuff.
I think a book by Jean Ensminger on economic and social change among the
Orma of Kenya ("Making a Market" Cambridge Press 1991 [i think]) is a
fresh approach. She borrows heavily from economic and political theory
(specifically, rational choice theory and new institutional economics) in
developing the dynamics of change which is not overly rosy or
pessimistic but rather pragmatic, in which some of the social and
economic "benefits" as well as "crises" are discussed. It's a
controversial approach among anthropologists, but, I believe, an
increasingly important one. If you take a look at it, I'd love to know
what you think. (I'm a student of her's and sometimes I am more convinced
by her approach than others.)

Hasta Luego
Brian Howell
Washington University in St. Louis