Africa's Revolutionary Nineteenth Century and the Idea of the "Scramble".

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  • Author(s): Reid, Richard (AUTHOR)
  • Source:
    American Historical Review. Dec2021, Vol. 126 Issue 4, p1424-1447. 24p.
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    • Abstract:
      This paper seeks to position the Scramble for Africa in the context of the continent's transformative, global nineteenth century. While imperial historiography develops apace, Africa-facing analyses of the continent's partition and the processes which led to it are increasingly rare. European expansion into Africa was characterized by an aggressive dynamism, and millions of Africans experienced profound crisis in the process of the establishment of colonial rule. Yet Africa's revolutionary nineteenth century was both driven by, and culminated in, complex processes of co-option on the part of Africans and Europeans. The paper proposes that a more Africa-centered assessment of the Scramble is possible, one which aims to contextualize the partition of the continent as part of an ongoing, endogenously shaped but often exogenously connected, transformation in political, economic, and social organization and behavior. While no single overarching theory can apply to the entire continent, it is possible to identify dynamics and processes for change that recur across Africa, from political and military reform to economic innovation. These point toward possibilities for reframing Africa's development in the late precolonial period, and enable us to challenge the hegemony long enjoyed by scholars of European empires. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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