AHP Publications

The African Humanities Series is a book-publishing project of the African Humanities Program of the American Council of Learned Societies. The series covers topics in African histories, languages, literatures, and cultures. Submissions are solicited from Fellows of the African Humanities Program (AHP), which is administered by the American Council of Learned Societies and financially supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. There are over 300 African scholars participating as Fellows in the AHP.

The purpose of the AHP is to encourage and enable production of new knowledge by Africans in the five countries designated by Carnegie Corporation: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. AHP fellowships support one year’s work, free from teaching and other responsibilities, to allow the Fellow to complete the project proposed. Successfully completed manuscripts are submitted to the AHP editorial board, which chooses manuscripts to be forwarded to the press. In some cases, the AHP board will commission substantive editing and/or re-organisation of manuscripts.

The African Humanities Series aims to publish work of the highest quality that will foreground the best research being done by emerging scholars (within five years of receiving their PhD degree, which is the AHP eligibility requirement). The rigorous selection process before the fellowship award, as well as AHP editorial vetting of manuscripts, assures attention to quality. Books in the series are intended to speak to scholars in Africa as well as in other world areas.

The AHP is also committed to providing a copy of each publication in the series to every university library in Africa.

Series Editors

Fred Hendricks, Rhodes University, South Africa (Co-editor: 2013-present).
Adigun Agbaje, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Co-editor: 2017-present).
Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Ghana (Co-editor: 2013-17).

The first four books in the series have been published with UNISA Press. Staring in 2017 the series is published at NISC Press. Find the collection of the African Humanities Series books on the African Books Collective website. 

African Humanities Series flyer


BOXING IS NO CAKEWALK! Azumah 'Ring Professor' Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing

De-Valera NYM Botchway

Boxing is no cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing explores the social history of boxing in Ghana and its interesting nexus with the biography of Azumah Nelson, unquestionably Ghana’s most celebrated boxer. The book posits that sports constitute more than mere games that people play. They are endowed with enormous political, cultural, economic and social power that can influence people’s lives in various ways.

Boxing is no cakewalk! interrogates the social meaning and impact of boxing within the colonial and postcolonial milieux of popular culture in Ghana. Consequently, it reconsiders the prevailing conception of boxing as adversative to enlightened human culture by arguing that it is a positive formulator of individual and national identities. The historicising of sports and the lives of sportspersons in Ghana provides an eloquent backdrop for an understanding of the past social dynamics and their effect in the  present.

The book's analytical narrative offers an intellectual contribution to the promising areas of social and cultural history in Ghana's historiography and the scholarly discourse on identity formation and social empowerment through the popular culture of sports.(Published by NISC (Pty) Ltd., June 2019; ISBN: 13:978-1-920033-56-9). Order: online from the African Books Collective, NISC Ltd, or order it from your local book store.


Language and the Construction of Multiple Identities in the Nigerian Novel

Romanus Aboh

Language and the construction of multiple identities in the Nigerian novel examines the multifaceted relation between people and the various identities they construct for themselves and for others through the context-specific ways they use language. Specifically, this book pays attention to how forms of identities – ethnic, cultural, national and gender – are constructed through the use of language in select novels of Adichie, Atta and Betiang. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, this book draws analytical insights from critical discourse analysis, literary discourse analysis and socio-ethno-linguistic analysis. This approach enables the author to engage with the novels, to illuminate the link between the ways Nigerians use language and the identities they construct. Being a context-driven analysis, this book critically scrutinises literary language beyond stylistic borders by interrogating the micro and macro levels of language use, a core analytical paradigm frequently used by discourse analysts who engage in critical discourse analysis. (Published by NISC (Pty) Ltd., December 2018; ISBN: 13: 978-1-920033-29-3). Order: online from the African Books Collective, NISC Ltd, Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


Claude E. Ake: The Making of an Organic Intellectual

Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe

Claude E. Ake, radical African political philosopher of the first four decades of the postcolonial era, stands out as a progressive social force whose writings continue to have appeal and relevance long after his untimely death in 1996. In examining Ake's intellectual works, Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe sets out the framework of his theoretical orientations in the context of his life, and reveals him as one of the most fertile and influential voices within the social sciences community in Africa. In tracing the genesis and development of Ake's political thought, Arowosegbe draws attention to Ake's compelling account of the material implications and political costs of European colonisation of Africa and his conception of a different future for the continent. Approaching his subject from a Gramscian and Marxist perspective, Arowosegbe elucidates how Ake's philosophy demonstrates the intimate entanglement of class and social, cultural and historical issues, and how, as a contributor to endogenous knowledge production and postcolonial studies on Africa, Ake is firmly rooted in a South-driven critique of Western historicism. It is Arowosegbe's conviction that engaged scholars are uniquely important in challenging existing hierarchies, oppressive institutions, and truth regimes – and the structures of power that produce and support them; and much can be drawn from their contributions and failings alike. This work contributes to a hitherto neglected focus area: the impact across the continent of the ideas and lives of African and other global South academics, intellectuals and scholar-activists. Among them, Ake is representative of bold scholarly initiatives in asserting the identities of African and other non-Western cultures through a mindful rewriting of the intellectual and nationalist histories of these societies on their own terms. In foregrounding the contribution of Ake with respect to both autochthonous traditional insights and endogenous knowledge production on the continent, Arowosegbe aims at fostering the continuance of a living and potent tradition of critique and resistance. Engaging with the lingering impact of colonialism on previously colonised societies, this timely book will be of immense value to scholars and students of philosophy and political science as well as African intellectual history, African studies, postcolonial studies and subaltern studies. (Published by Unisa Press, November 2018; ISBN: 978-1-86888-808-5). Order: online from UNISA Press, Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


Unshared Identity: Posthumous paternity in a contemporary Yoruba community

Babajide Ololajulo

Unshared Identity employs the practice of posthumous paternity in Ilupeju-Ekiti, a Yoruba-speaking community in Nigeria, to explore endogenous African ways of being and meaning-making that are believed to have declined when the Yoruba and other groups constituting present-day Nigeria were preyed upon by European colonialism and Westernisation. However, the author’s fieldwork for this book uncovered evidence of the resilience of Africa’s endogenous epistemologies. Drawing on a range of disciplines, from anthropology to literature, the author lays bare the hypocrisy underlying the ways in which dominant Western ideals of being and belonging are globalised or proliferated, while those that are unorthodox or non-Western (Yoruba and African in this case) are pathologised, subordinated and perceived as repugnant. At a time when the issues of decolonisation and African epistemologies are topical across the African continent, this book is a timely contribution to the potential revival of those values and practices that make Africans African. (Published by NISC (Pty) Ltd., November 2018; ISBN: 13: 978-1-920033-28-6). Order: online from the African Books Collective, NISC Ltd, Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


Consensus as Democracy in Africa

Bernard Matolino

Some philosophers on the African continent and beyond are convinced that consensus, as a polity, represents the best chance for Africa to fully democratise. In Consensus as Democracy in Africa, Bernard Matolino challenges the basic assumptions built into consensus as a social and political theory. Central to his challenge to the claimed viability of consensus as a democratic system are three major questions: Is consensus genuinely superior to its majoritarian counterpart? Is consensus itself truly a democratic system? Is consensus sufficiently different from the one-party system? In taking up these issues and others closely associated with them, Matolino shows that consensus as a system of democracy encounters several challenges that make its viability highly doubtful. Matolino then attempts a combination of an understanding of an authentic mode of democracy with African reality to work out what a more desirable polity would be for the continent. (Published by NISC (Pty) Ltd., October 2018; ISBN: 13: 978-1-920033-31-6). Order: online from the African Books Collective, NISC Ltd, Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


The Anglophone Literary-Linguistic Continuum: English and Indigenous Languages in African Literary Discourse

Michael Andindilile

Michael Andindilile’s book interrogates Obi Wali’s (1963) prophecy that continued use of former colonial languages in the production of African literature could only lead to ‘sterility’, as African literatures can only be written in indigenous African languages. In doing so, Andindilile critically examines selected of novels of Achebe of Nigeria, Ngũgĩ of Kenya, Gordimer of South Africa and Farah of Somalia and shows that, when we pay close attention to what these authors represent about their African societies, and the way they integrate African languages, values, beliefs and cultures, we can discover what constitutes the Anglophone African literary–linguistic continuum. This continuum can be defined as variations in the literary usage of English in African literary discourse, with the language serving as the base to which writers add variations inspired by indigenous languages, beliefs, cultures and, sometimes, nation-specific experiences.
(Published by NISC (pty) Ltd, October 2018; ISBN 13: 978-1-920033-23-1). Order: online from the African Books Collective, Amazon or order it from your local book store.


Parading Respectability: The cultural and moral aesthetics of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa

Sylvia Bruinders

Parading respectability: The cultural and moral aesthetics of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa is an intimate and incisive portrait of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape of South Africa. Drawing on her own on background as well as her extended research study period during which she became a band member and was closely involved in its day-to-day affairs, the author, Dr Sylvia Bruinders, documents this centuries-old expressive practice of ushering in the joy of Christmas through music by way of a social history of the coloured communities. In doing so, she traces the slave origins of the Christmas Bands Movement, as well as how the oppressive and segregationist injustices of both colonialism and apartheid, together with the civil liberties afforded in the South African Constitution (1996) after the country became a democracy in 1994 have shaped the movement. (Published by NISC (pty) Ltd, September 2017; ISBN 9781920033194). Order: online from the African Books Collective or Amazon, or order it from your local book store. 


Indigenous Shona Philosophy: Reconstructive Insights

Pascah Mungwini

Some of the most provoctive questions confronted by philosophers in Africa are grounded in historical memory. Among these are the experiences of conquest and the subsequent peripheralisation of most things African including its knowledge and philosophy. This book is in part a response to this nemetic experience. The book is a critical reconstruction of indigenous Shona philosophy as an aspect of the African intellectual heritage. It aims to retrace the epistemic thread in the indigenous traditions of the Shona and to lay out the philosophy imbued in them. Every civilisation constructs for itself an intellectual heritage and archive from which it draws inspiration. In this book the author argues that philosophy in Africa has a historical responsibility to help drive the unfinished humanistic project of decolonisation and to reclaim the African past in search of identity and authentic liberation. That entails, as the author points out, opening up those indigenous horizons of thinking and knowing that have been held hostage by colonial modernity and which now face potential extinction. On this basis African philosophy will be able not only to set itself on the path to total self-affirmation, but also to repair the colonial wound and deal with various forms of epistemic injustices that afflict the continent. This book is one of the first comprehensive texts to be written on the philosophical thinking of the indigenous Shona – that group of people credited with the founding of the ancient Great Zimbabwe civilisation and for constructing the Great Zimbabwe UNESCO world heritage monuments. The book aims to contribute to the dissemination of the thoughts of the Shona, whose culture and philosophical ideas have not been suffiently explored, but which continue to influence the lives of its peoples to this day. Through this book the author seeks to confer this intellectual heritage with the immortality it deserves, and, therefore, keep those classical ideas alive for posterity. According to the author the ultimate goal of philosophy is to champion dialogue among the world’s different civilisations in pursuit of truth, knowledge, and justice. In this globalised world, knowledge of each other’s cultures and the assumptions that inform our thinking and actions- including- inaction are fundamental to the future of humanity. By reconstructing the philosophy of one of Africa’s indigenous cultures, the author not only lays down the basis for dialogue across cultures, but he also opens the opportunity for scholars in Africa to dialogue with their past, critically analyse it and, where possible, appropriate its ideals to improve humanity. (Published by Unisa Press, May 2017; ISBN: 978-1-86888-841-2). Order: online from UNISA Press, Abe Books, or Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


White Narratives: The Depiction of Post-2000 Land Invansions in Zimbabwe

Irikidzayi Manase

The post-2000 period in Zimbabwe saw the launch of a fast-track land reform programme, resulting in a flurry of accounts from white Zimbabweans about how they saw the land, the land invasions, and their own sense of belonging and identity. In White Narratives, Irikidzayi Manase engages with this fervent output of texts seeking definition of experiences, conflicts and ambiguities arising from the land invasions. He takes us through his study of texts selected from the memoirs, fictional and non-fictional accounts of white farmers and other displaced white narrators on the post-2000 Zimbabwe land invasions, scrutinising divisions between white and black in terms of both current and historical ideology, society and spatial relationships. He examines how the revisionist politics of the Zimbabwean government influenced the politics of identities and race categories during the period 2000–2008, and posits some solutions to the contestations for land and belonging. (Published by Unisa Press, July 2016; ISBN: 978-1-86888-825-2.) Order: UNISA Press, Abe Books, or Amazon.


What the forest told me: Yoruba hunter, culture, and narrative performance

Ayo Adeduntan

Ayo Adeduntan was educated at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Ibadan. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in literature from Obafemi Awolowo University, and Master of Arts in the same discipline from the University of Ibadan. He completed his PhD in Cultural and Performance Studies at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

Since 2010, he has been teaching in method and theory of field investigation; gender, ideology and performance; performance theory; prospects and problem of performance research, and indigenous approach to conflict resolution at the Institute of African Studies, Ibadan. He has published articles in Text Performance Studies Quarterly, African Notes, as well as chapters in various books. With Ohioma Pogoson, he is currently editing a volume of essays entitled ‘Culture and Society in Postcolonial Nigeria’. His current research activities focus on how 20th-century and 21st-century urban performance forms exploit indigenous African codes. (Published by Unisa Press July 2014; ISBN: 978-1-86888-739-2; electronic format: ISBN: 978-1-86888-8634.) Order: online from UNISA Press or Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


Gender Terrains in African Cinema

Dominica Dipio

The highly talented author, Dominica Dipio was inspired by a desire to undertake this study from her interest in gender, and the increasing attention African cinema is drawing in the history of world cinemas. Attaining its identity in the 1960s, this cinema is characteristically a post-colonial art form. The first group of filmmakers and critics saw themselves, together with the political elite, as responsible for building their new nations and came up with a series of statements which underline what cinema should be in their contexts – an instrument for educating, decolonising the mind and developing critical participatory viewership. To some extent, the cinema continues the role of the griot with a difference.

The interests in this subject led the author to analyse how the cinema and the filmmaker are located within the predominantly patriarchal hegemonic structure as they address issues related to gender and, in particularly, the position of women in African communities. The central question is the representation of women and gender discourses in the cinema. The films selected for analysis are all directed by male filmmakers that are considered representative of African filmmaking. The films selected span from the 1970s to the 2000s. The focus is the comprehensive analysis of gender relations reflected in the portrayal of the girl child, the young woman and mature, as well as the grandmother, vis-à-vis their male counterparts. (Published by Unisa Press July 2014; ISBN: 978-1-86888-735-4; electronic format: ISBN: 23524534.) Order: online from UNISA Press or Amazon, or order it from your local book store.


Nation, Power and Dissidence in Third Generation Nigerian Poetry in English

Sule E. Egya

Nation, Power and Dissidence in Third Generation Nigerian Poetry in English is a theoretical and analytical survey of the poetry that emerged in Nigeria in the 1980s. Hurt into poetry, the poets collectively raise aesthetics of resistance that dramatises the nationalist imagination bridging the gap between poetry and politics in Nigeria. The emerging generation of poetic voices raises an outcry against the repressive military regimes of the 1980s and 1990s. Ingrained in the tradition of protest literature in Africa, the third-generation poetry is presented here as part of the cultural struggles that unseat military despotism and envisage a democratic society.

Not only does Egya place emphasis on the poetry’s interaction with the culture and history of military oppression in Nigeria − an interaction that sees the poetry not only feeding from the history but also feeding it; he also contextualises the generational consciousness of these poets. Scholars of Nigerian literature, African literature, and researchers interested in world literatures will welcome Nation, Power and Dissidence in Third Generation Nigerian Poetry in English as an invaluable contribution to indigenous knowledge, critical studies in Africa, and the rehabilitation and production of an African aesthetic. (Published by Unisa Press June 2014; ISBN: 978-1-86888-759-0; electronic format ISBN: 978186888-8641. Order: online from UNISA Press or Amazon, or order it from your local book store.