Kwasi Konadu

Our Own Way in This Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation

Kofi Dɔnkɔ (1913–1995) was a blacksmith and farmer, as well as an important healer, intellectual, spiritual leader, settler of disputes, and custodian of shared values for his Ghanaian community. In Our Own Way in This Part of the World Kwasi Konadu centers Dɔnkɔ’s life story and experiences in a communography of Dɔnkɔ’s community and nation from the late nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth, which were shaped by historical forces from colonial Ghana’s cocoa boom to decolonization and political and religious parochialism. Although Dɔnkɔ touched the lives of thousands of citizens and patients, neither he nor they appear in national or international archives covering the region. Yet, his memory persists in his intellectual and healing legacy and the story of his community offers a non-national, decolonized example of social organization structured around spiritual forces that serves as a powerful reminder of the importance for scholars to take their cues from the lived experiences and ideas of the people they study.

“Kwasi Konadu has written an important book for understanding social change at the local level in Ghana. His emphasis on spirituality, healing, and education among the Bono people is a model for people-centered histories of African societies.” — Benjamin Talton, author of Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality

“Kwasi Konadu grounds the transformations in West African societies in ways that allow Kofi Dɔnkɔ to serve as a counterpoint to mainstream representations that take the perspective of Christianized, modernizing individuals on the coast. Dɔnkɔ was an everyday person in some ways, and exceptional in others, making his life a productive window through which to understand culture, experience, and worldview. This is an innovative and outstanding book.” — Trevor R. Getz, author of A Primer for Teaching African History: Ten Design Principles

The Ghana Reader

Covering 500 years of Ghana's history, The Ghana Reader  provides a multitude of historical, political, and cultural perspectives on this iconic African nation. Readers will encounter selections written by everyone from farmers, traders, and the clergy to intellectuals, politicians, musicians, and foreign travelers. With sources including historical documents, poems, treaties, articles, and fiction, The Ghana Reader conveys the multiple and intersecting histories of Ghana's development as a nation, its key contribution to the formation of the African diaspora, and its increasingly important role in the economy and politics of the twenty-first century.

"Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."  —Choice

"The Ghana Reader is a treasure trove of information."  —Journal of Global South Studies

"[A] wonderful introduction to Ghana and its people."  —Foreign Affairs

"a versatile and accessible teaching tool."  —African Studies Review

"The book appeals to a broad range of disciplines across the humanities
and social sciences and is exemplary of the kind of text that can foster transdisciplinary teaching and scholarship."  —African and Black Diaspora

"[The Ghana Reader] thoroughly succeeds in providing varied and contrasting illuminations of... Ghana."  —African Studies Quarterly

"The Ghana Reader does full and eloquent justice to Ghana’s rowdy and cacophonous history."  —Charles Piot, Duke University

"An important and timely book."  —Jesse Shipley, Dartmouth College

Transatlantic Africa

Transatlantic Africa: 1440-1888 examines the internal workings of African societies in the transatlantic era, and strongly emphasizes the global context and the multiplicity of African experiences during that period, while interpreting the process of transatlantic slaving and its consequences through largely African and diasporic primary sources. Based on careful reading of Africans' oral histories and traditions, written documents, and visual evidence, the book focuses not only on the mechanics or operation of the Atlantic slaving system, but also on the beliefs, ideas, and worldviews of the Africans who experienced it. By integrating African views with critical interpretations, Transatlantic Africa balances intellectual rigor with broad accessibility, helping students to think about the Atlantic slave trade from a new perspective.

"This is an important work. [I]t is an ideal text for courses on world history, the Atlantic World, or slavery in Africa."  —Hilary Jones, Florida International University

"This volume will be of benefit to scholars as well as students interested in understanding the influence of the African diaspora in world history."  —Ibrahim Hamza, Virginia Commonwealth University

"Transatlantic Africa is a welcome, and in many ways, novel addition to the significant literature on slavery in the Atlantic World.... It deserves a place on both graduate and undergraduate syllabi dealing with African, Atlantic, and World History."  —Journal of African History

Akan Pioneers: African Histories, Diasporic Experiences

[Originally published as The Akan Diaspora in the Americas.] Using diverse and new sources (archaeological, biomedical, climatological, linguistic, ethno-musical, oral historical, and documentary sources in Portuguese, German, Danish, French, and English), this book examines the Akan experience in West Africa and in the English, Danish, and Dutch colonies of the Americas. It demonstrates how this cultural group of West Africa engaged in yet went beyond the diasporic themes of maroonage, resistance, and freedom. Locating the Akan variable in the African diasporic equation allows scholars and students of the Americas to better understand how the diasporic quilt came to be and is still evolving.

"[A] path-breaking contribution to the study of African diasporas in the Americas... [with] interdisciplinary breadth, methodological rigor, bold and imaginative concepts, and historical depth."  —New West Indian Guide

"[A] meaningful contribution to the dialogue about the nature of African culture and its transfer and transformation in the Americas."  —John Thornton, Boston University

"[A] significant contribution to studies of the African diaspora in the New World.... This is an engaging and illuminating study."  —James Miller, George Washington University

"demonstrates that an Atlantic history that does not give equal weight to both sides of the ocean cannot have much credibility."   —Slavery & Abolition

"There is much to appreciate in this impressively researched text."  —Journal of African History