College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Home
  • Research & Resources
  • Publications and Media

Featured Books

Different Shades of Green: African Literature, Environmental Justice, and Political Ecology
by Byron Caminero-Santangelo

Engaging important discussions about social conflict, environmental change, and imperialism in Africa, Different Shades of Green points to legacies of African environmental writing, often neglected as a result of critical perspectives shaped by dominant Western conceptions of nature and environmentalism. Drawing on an interdisciplinary framework employing postcolonial studies, political ecology, environmental history, and writing by African environmental activists, Byron Caminero-Santangelo emphasizes connections within African environmental literature, highlighting how African writers have challenged unjust, ecologically destructive forms of imperial development and resource extraction.

Different Shades of Green also brings into dialogue a wide range of African creative writing—including works by Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Zakes Mda, Nuruddin Farah, Wangari Maathai, and Ken Saro-Wiwa—in order to explore vexing questions for those involved in the struggle for environmental justice, in the study of political ecology, and in the environmental humanities, urging continued imaginative thinking in effecting a more equitable, sustain¬able future in Africa.

Additional information

 

Educating Muslim Women: The West African Legacy of Nana Asma'u 1793-1864
by Beverly Mack and Jean Boyd

Nana Asma'u was a devout, learned Muslim who was able to observe, record, interpret, and influence the major public events that happened around her.

Daughters are still named after her, her poems still move people profoundly, and the memory of her remains a vital source of inspiration and hope. Her example as an educator is still followed: the system she set up in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, for the education of rural women, has not only survived in its homeland—through the traumas of the colonization of West Africa and the establishment of the modern state of Nigeria—but is also being revived and adapted elsewhere, notably among Muslim women in the United States.

This book, richly illustrated with maps and photographs, recounts Asma'u's upbringing and critical junctures in her life from several sources, mostly unpublished: her own firsthand experiences presented in her writings, the accounts of contemporaries who witnessed her endeavors, and the memoirs of European travelers. For the account of her legacy the authors have depended on extensive field studies in Nigeria, and documents pertaining to the efforts of women in Nigeria and the United States, to develop a collective voice and establish their rights as women and Muslims in today's societies.

Additional information

 

Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions
by Jacob Dorman

Jacob S. Dorman offers new insights into the rise of Black Israelite religions in America, faiths ranging from Judaism to Islam to Rastafarianism all of which believe that the ancient Hebrew Israelites were Black and that contemporary African Americans are their descendants. Dorman traces the influence of Israelite practices and philosophies in the Holiness Christianity movement of the 1890s and the emergence of the Pentecostal movement in 1906. An examination of Black interactions with white Jews under slavery shows that the original impetus for Christian Israelite movements was not a desire to practice Judaism but rather a studied attempt to recreate the early Christian church, following the strictures of the Hebrew Scriptures.

A second wave of Black Israelite synagogues arose during the Great Migration of African Americans and West Indians to cities in the North. One of the most fascinating of the Black Israelite pioneers was Arnold Josiah Ford, a Barbadian musician who moved to Harlem, joined Marcus Garvey's Black Nationalist movement, started his own synagogue, and led African Americans to resettle in Ethiopia in 1930. The effort failed, but the Black Israelite theology had captured the imagination of settlers who returned to Jamaica and transmitted it to Leonard Howell, one of the founders of Rastafarianism and himself a member of Harlem's religious subculture. After Ford's resettlement effort, the Black Israelite movement was carried forward in the U.S. by several Harlem rabbis, including Wentworth Arthur Matthew, another West Indian, who creatively combined elements of Judaism, Pentecostalism, Freemasonry, the British Anglo-Israelite movement, Afro-Caribbean faiths, and occult kabbalah.

Drawing on interviews, newspapers, and a wealth of hitherto untapped archival sources, Dorman provides a vivid portrait of Black Israelites, showing them to be a transnational movement that fought racism and its erasure of people of color from European-derived religions. Chosen People argues for a new way of understanding cultural formation, not in terms of genealogical metaphors of "survivals," or syncretism, but rather as a "polycultural" cutting and pasting from a transnational array of ideas, books, rituals, and social networks.

Additional information

 

The Clause Structure of Wolof : Insights Into the Left Periphery
by Harold Torrence

This volume investigates the clausal syntax of Wolof, an understudied Atlantic language of Senegal. The goals of the work are descriptive, analytical, and comparative, with a focus on the structure of the left periphery and left peripheral phenomena. The book includes detailed examination of the morpho‑syntax of wh‑questions, successive cyclicity, subject marking, relative clauses, topic/focus articulation, and complementizer agreement. Novel data from Wolof is used to evaluate and extend theoretical proposals concerning the structure of the Complementizer Phrase (CP) and Tense Phrase (TP). It is argued that Wolof provides evidence for the promotion analysis of relative clauses, an exploded CP and TP, and for analyses that treat relative clauses as composed of a determiner with a CP complement. It is further argued that Wolof has a set of silent wh‑expressions and these are compared to superficially similar constructions in colloquial German, Bavarian, Dutch, and Norwegian. The book also presents a comparison of complementizer agreement across a number of related and unrelated languages. Data from Indo‑European (Germanic varieties, French, Irish), Niger‑Congo (Atlantic, Bantu, Gur), and Semitic (Arabic) languages put the Wolof phenomena in a larger typological context by showing the range of variation in complementizer agreement systems.

Additional information

 

 

An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and its Hinterland

by Mariana Candido

This book traces the history and development of the port of Benguela, the third largest port of slave embarkation on the coast of Africa, from the early seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Benguela, located on the central coast of present-day Angola, was founded by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth century. In discussing the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on African societies, Mariana P. Candido explores the formation of new elites, the collapse of old states, and the emergence of new states. Placing Benguela in an Atlantic perspective, this study shows how events in the Caribbean and Brazil affected social and political changes on the African coast. This book emphasizes the importance of the South Atlantic as a space for the circulation of people, ideas, and crops.

 

Additional information

 


Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship


The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit www.migrationstories.ku.edu to learn more. 

Upcoming Events
48 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Pharmacy school No. 2 nationally for NIH funding
Hall Center receives 3rd NEH challenge grant to support humanities research collaboration
Regional leader in technology commercialization
12 graduate programs rank in top 10 nationally among public universities.
—U.S. News & World Report
Driving discovery, innovation, entrepreneurship
Home to 15 major research centers & state surveys
1st in nation for its special education master’s and doctorate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
1st in nation for its city management and urban policy master’s program.
—U.S. News & World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
KU Today