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Colonial Africa saw an explosion of writing and printing, produced and circulated not only by highly educated and visible elites, but also by wage laborers, clerks, village headmasters, traders, and other obscure aspirants to elite status. The ability to read and write was considered essential for educated persons, and Africans from all walks of life strove to participate in the new literary culture. Karin Barber and an international group of Africanist scholars have uncovered a trove of personal diaries, letters, obituaries, pamphlets, and booklets stored away in tin-trunks, suitcases, and cabinets that reveal individuals involved in the new occupation of the colonial era-putting pen to paper. Africa's Hidden Histories taps into rare primary sources and considers the profusion of literary culture, the propensity to collect and archive text, and the significance attached to reading as a form of self-improvement. As it explores the innovative, intense, and sociable interest in reading and writing, this book opens new avenues for understanding a rich and hidden history of Africa's creative expression.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780253218438
ISBN-10: 0253218438
Format: Paperback
(5969mm x 3963mm x 29mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Indiana University Press
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publish Date: 13-Jul-2006
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Karin Barber

Karin Barber is Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the University of Birmingham. She is author of The Generation of Plays (IUP, 2000), which won the Herskovits Award, and editor of Readings in African Popular Culture (IUP, 1997).

Books By Author Karin Barber

Anthropology of Texts, Persons and Publics by Karin Barber

The Anthropology of Texts, Persons and Publics

Paperback, December 2007
Generation of Plays by Karin Barber

The Generation of Plays

Paperback, February 2003
I Could Speak Until Tomorrow by Karin Barber

I Could Speak Until Tomorrow

Paperback, April 1991