Book reccomendations for African history?

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madd0ct0r
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Book reccomendations for African history?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-03-14 04:44am

I just finished African kingdoms by basil Davidson. Published 1969.

It's a great art book and good for timelines too. But surely we've learnt a bit more in the last forty years?

I'm primarily looking for art history but general early history or architecture appreciated too. Any reccomendations?
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Ziggy Stardust
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Re: Book reccomendations for African history?

Postby Ziggy Stardust » 2016-03-14 06:48pm

Well, there's a massive amount of literature on Egyptian history/art/architecture, but I am going to ignore those for the moment because it sounds like you are more interested in sub-Saharan Africa.

The author you mentioned has another great book on the subject called "The Lost Cities of Africa." I believe he has several other books on African history out there, though I haven't read any of them.

"Kongo: Power and Majesty" is a great piece on the history of art from the Congo region.

"African Art" by Frank Willett is often used as a textbook for most university courses related to African Art History. It's a bit general (and IIRC has more of a focus on the relatively well-documented West African cultures) but a great introductory point to the subject.

"Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form" is focused more specifically on the art associated with royal courts in West and Central Africa; it is a really fascinating and intelligent look at the intersection of art, archaeology, and anthropology.

"Major Themes in Ethiopian Painting" covers medieval Ethiopian/East African art, though from a quick Google search it isn't easy to find. You may have to check a university library or look into inter-library loans to get a copy.

"Being Maasai" is a great examination of Maasai culture and history, though IIRC not a lot of focus on art specifically except with respect to archaeological finds.

In addition, any good book on Islamic art (or general history) will cover a lot on North Africa, which is often considered separate from Africa proper for these purposes. I also believe there are several books about Great Zimbabwe's art and architecture, though I don't remember any of them off the top of my head (and, in general, I believe there is a relative dearth of information about ancient southern African civilizations).

Others can probably recommend several more general history books. I also know a lot more that are focused specifically on the 19th and 20th centuries (both histories and art histories), but based on your OP those don't seem to be your primary interest.

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madd0ct0r
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Re: Book reccomendations for African history?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-03-14 07:41pm

holy fuck. perfect answer Ziggy, thankyou!
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee


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