African Islands: Leading Edges of Empire and Globalization
Islands and island chains like Cabo Verde, Madagascar, and Bioko are often sidelined in contemporary understandings of Africa in which mainland nation-states take center stage in the crafting of historical narratives. Yet in the modern period, these small offshore spaces have often played important if inconsistent roles in facilitating intra- and intercontinental exchanges that have had lasting effects on the cultural, economic, and political landscape of Africa. In African Islands: Leading Edges of Empire and Globalism, contributors argue for the importance of Africa's islands in integrating the continent into wider networks of trade and migration that links it with Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Essays consider the cosmopolitan and culturally complex identities of Africa's islands, analyzing the process and extent to which trade, slavery, and migration bonded African elements with Asian, Arabic, and European characteristics over the years. While the continental and island nations have experienced similar cycles of invasion, boom, and bust, essayists note both similarities and striking differences in how these events precipitated economic changes in the different geographic areas. This book, a much-needed broadly comparative study of the African islands, will be an important resource for students and scholars of the region and of topics such as colonialism, economic history, and cultural hybridity. TOYIN FALOLA is Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. R. JOSEPH PARROTT is Assistant Professor of History at Ohio State University. DANIELLE PORTER SANCHEZ is Assistant Professor of History at Muhlenberg College.