We define African politics broadly, meaning the series includes not just the best new research in political science, but also novels, memoirs, journalistic accounts and historical accounts. In the summer, we’ll learn how Pentecostal preachers in Kenya and South Africa affect voting, about the politics of street vending in Tanzania and the roles female leaders have always played in West African marketplaces. We’ll read an exquisite novel set against the backdrop of Ethiopia’s struggle to resist Italy’s invasion and a thoughtful investigation of the ways American ideals about LGBTQ+ identities and liberation don’t always match African realities.
After the most unusual spring term in recent memory, we’re ready for summer. We’ve canceled vacations and research trips and are looking forward to having plenty of time to read and relax. Join us by reading some or all of these books! Many of the titles we’ve selected this year are available as e-books so you can read along from wherever you are.
Here’s the schedule:
June 5: “From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa” by Gwyneth McClendon and Rachel Beatty Riedl
June 12: “The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe” by Simukai Chigudu
June 19: New reads on urban politics in Ghana, featuring “Democracy in Ghana: Everyday Politics in Urban Africa” by Jeffrey Paller and “Electoral Politics and Africa’s Urban Transition: Class and Ethnicity in Ghana” by Noah Nathan
June 26: “Negotiating Public Services in the Congo: State, Society and Governance,” edited by Tom de Herdt and Kristof Titeca
July 3: Break
July 10: “Legislative Development in Africa: Politics and Postcolonial Legacies” by Ken Opalo
July 17: “The Shadow King: A Novel” by Maaza Mengiste
July 24: “Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon” by Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué
July 31: “Tanzania’s Informal Economy: The Micro-Politics of Street Vending” by Alexis Malefakis
Aug. 7: New reads on Kenya, featuring “Regime Threats and State Solutions: Bureaucratic Loyalty and Embeddedness in Kenya” by Mai Hassan, “Political Violence in Kenya: Land, Elections, and Claim-Making” by Kathleen Klaus, and “Kakuma Refugee Camp: Humanitarian Urbanism in Kenya’s Accidental City” by Bram Jansen.
Aug. 14: “Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa” by Nwando Achebe
Aug. 21: “Love Falls on Us: A Story of American Ideas and African LGBT Lives” by Robbie Corey-Boulet
Aug. 28: “States of Justice: The Politics of the International Criminal Court” by Oumar Ba
Sept. 4: “Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations” by Lina Benabdallah
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and observations on our reads. Join the conversation on all your favorite social media platforms using the hashtag #APSRS20.
Posts in last year’s series: