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Colonial Subjects : An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas

Colonial Subjects : An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas - 00 edition

Colonial Subjects : An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas - 00 edition

ISBN13: 9780813919089

ISBN10: 0813919088

Colonial Subjects : An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas by Philip S. Zachernuk - ISBN 9780813919089
Edition: 00
Copyright: 2000
Publisher: University Press of Virginia
Published:
International: No
Colonial Subjects : An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas by Philip S. Zachernuk - ISBN 9780813919089

ISBN13: 9780813919089

ISBN10: 0813919088

Edition: 00

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Summary

West African intellectuals have a long history of engaging with European intrusion by reflecting on their status as colonial & postcolonial subjects. Against the tendency to view this engagement as a confrontation between the modern West & traditional Africa, Philip S. Zachernuk argues that the interaction is far more fluid & diverse. Challenging the frequent denigration of Western-educated Africans as a culturally barren ''kleptocratic'' elite, Colonial Subjects shows that they occupied a shifting medial position between colonizers & colonized. In the process they created a distinctive intellectual culture grounded in indigenous & European sources. Looking carefully at southern Nigeria from 1840 to 1960, Zachernuk locates intellectuals in the contours of their society as it changed from late precolonial times to the beginning of independence. He examines their engagement with British & black Atlantic assumptions & assertions about Africa's place in the world. These ideas, shaped by the needs of others, became the often awkward material with which these intellectuals endeavored to construct their own image of their home continent. In this context, a group of Nigerian intellectuals created a dynamic intellectual tradition motivated by self-interest & marked by innovation, counterinvention, & imitation within the confines of the Atlantic world. At different times they opposed & supported the colonial state, adopted & rejected notions of racial destiny, & advocated free-market principles, cooperative self-help, & state socialism. Colonial Subjects provides a historical framework for connecting these divergent ideas, thereby recovering the complexity of an intellectual tradition both colonial & modern.