Alexander Keese

Living with Ambiguity

Integrating an African Elite in French and Portuguese Africa, 1930–61
Alexander Keese

Living with Ambiguity

Integrating an African Elite in French and Portuguese Africa, 1930–61

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From the 1930s, all colonial administrations in sub-Saharan Africa were faced with a complicated task. In an increasingly hostile international environment, after the frustrating experiences of World War II and confronted with new, emancipationist tendencies among the African populations themselves, they had to find a strategy to integrate part of the African elite as collaborators in a paternalist, but nonetheless modernising project – and they had to find this strategy fast!
The group of potential collaborators was confusingly large, including so-called ‘traditional chiefs’ on the one hand, so-called ‘modern educated natives’ on the other hand. African experiences under Portuguese and French rule are part of that pattern, but they also form a particular context, because those two colonial powers were committed, in their ideology, to the assimilation of the African population as principal element of their ‘civilising mission’. The interplay between them and their African collaborators was thus particularly ambiguous.

Martin Behaim Book Prize, 2006, of the Gesellschaft für Überseegeschichte

"...il s’agit ici d’un livre très original et trés novateur ouvrant de nouvelles perspectives utiles et aux contemporanéistes et aux modernistes."

Catarina Madeira Santos, Revue Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales 64, 2009/4

"Overall, Living with Ambiguity is an important contribution to knowledge of the late colonial state and the nature of de-colonization in Africa. Graduate students and scholars interested in themes of assimilation, African nationalism, discourses of empire and the foundations of neo-colonialism should find new and interesting information in this work."

The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 2008/2

".. Alexander Keese has written a unique book of a generally high standard. Living with Ambiguity has much to offer students of empire and decolonization in francophone and lusophone Africa and beyond."

African History 50, 2009

"There is … little doubt that Keese has made an important contribution that brings abundant new materials and a novel critical perspective to the study of twentieth-century colonialism."

Mahir Saul, American Historical Review, 2011

"Das vorliegende Buch ist […] ein äußerst wichtiger Beitrag zur Problematik des Charakters und des Verlaufs der Dekolonisierung in Afrika. Leser, die sich für Themen wie Anpassung, Integration und Assimilation der einheimischen Bevölkerung, den afrikanischen Nationalismus, politische Stategien kolonialer Imperien oder den Neokolonialismus interessieren, sollten dieses Buch ganz bestimmt zur Hand nehmen."

Lukás Novotny, Jahrbuch für Europäische Überseegeschichte 10,2010

"The great strength of the book ist hat it provides for the reader a wealth of primary sources which have not been used before in this way and which bring to life the vagaries of the colonial administrative mind during the period. […] This is one of the most impressive pieces of comparative archival research ever undertaken on colonial Africa […]"

The International History Review XXXI, 2009/1
Reihe Beiträge zur europäischen Überseegeschichte
Band 93
ISBN 978-3-515-09032-2
Medientyp Buch - Kartoniert
Auflage 1.
Copyrightjahr 2007
Umfang 344 Seiten
Abbildungen 5 s/w Abb.
Format 17,0 x 24,0 cm
Sprache Englisch