Just published: an encyclopedia entry on the history of cities in Africa

The city of Loango, in modern-day Republic of Congo, as depicted in Olfert Dapper’s Description of Africa, published in 1668. This humanist had never traveled beyond his native Netherlands. His illustration was based on the accounts of Dutch sailors and captains who had visited Africa’s coasts. Seventeenth-century European travelers were often amazed by the size, wealth and  orderliness of the African cities they visited, comparing them favorably to Lisbon and Amsterdam, the most advanced European cities of their day.

This is just a quick note to announce that the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History has just published a 12,000-word article on the history of cities in Africa that I drafted earlier this year. This was, assuredly, the most difficult article I have ever written, mostly because I am trained as a geographer, not an historian. Surveying the spread and development of urbanization across the continent from earliest times (pre-dynastic Egypt) until the post-colonial present was hard enough to write up in 6,500 words. More daunting was the 3,500 word discussion of the historiography of this sub-field of African Studies, and the 1,400 word presentation of the various sources (archaeological, documentary, archival, actuarial and oral) historians use when undertaking research in Africa’s urban history. I still think this article should have been written by a well-published historian, but somehow the task fell to me!

So, for better or worse, here it is, free and on-line:

Eric Ross. “African Urban History and Historiography.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, Oxford University Press, 2018. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.58

 

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About ericrossacademic

Professor of Geography at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco
This entry was posted in cities, publication and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Just published: an encyclopedia entry on the history of cities in Africa

  1. Searcey, Dionne says:

    This looks amazing.

    On Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 6:32 PM Eric Ross, academic wrote:

    > ericrossacademic posted: ” This is just a quick note to announce that the > Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History has just published a > 12,000-word article on the history of cities in Africa that I drafted > earlier this year. This was, assuredly, the most difficult articl” >

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