Ordering Africa

Anthropology, European imperialism and the politics of knowledge

Edited by Helen Tilley and Robert Gordon

Ordering Africa

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8212-2
  • Pages: 404
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.99
  • Published Date: June 2010
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Humanities / African history, HISTORY / Africa / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Colonialism & imperialism, African history, Africa, History, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


African research played a major role in transforming the discipline of anthropology in the twentieth century. Ethnographic studies, in turn, had significant effects on the way imperial powers in Africa approached subject peoples.

Ordering Africa provides the first comparative history of these processes. With essays exploring metropolitan research institutes, Africans as ethnographers, the transnational features of knowledge production, and the relationship between anthropology and colonial administration, this volume both consolidates and extends a range of new research questions focusing on the politics of imperial knowledge. Specific chapters examine French West Africa, the Belgian and French Congo, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Italian Northeast Africa, Kenya, and Equatorial Africa (Gabon) as well as developments in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

A major collection of essays that will be welcomed by scholars interested in imperial history and the history of Africa.


Introduction: Helen Tilley, "Africa, Imperialism, and Anthropology"
1. Emmanuelle Sibeud, "The Elusive Bureau of Colonial Ethnography: African Experience and Ethnographic Terrain in France, 1906-30"
2. Holger Stoecker, "The Advancement of African Studies by the German Research Foundation (GRF), 1920-45"
3. Benoît de l'Estoile, "Internationalization and Scientific Nationalism: the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC) Between the Wars"
4. Sara Pugach, "Of Conjunctions, Comportment, and Clothing: The Place of African Teaching Assistants at Hamburg's Colonial Institute, 1909-19"
5. Jean-Hervé Jezequel, "Voices of Their Own?: African Participation in the Production of Colonial Knowledge in French West Africa, 1900-50"
6. Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale, "Custom, Modernity and the Search for Kihooto: Kenyatta, Malinowski, and the Making of Facing Mount Kenya"
7. Patrick Harries, "From the Alps to Africa: Swiss Missionaries and the Rise of Anthropology"
8. John Cinnamon, "Colonial Anthropologies and the Primordial Imagination in Equatorial Africa"
9. Nancy Hunt, "Colonial Medical Anthropology and the Making of the Central African Infertility Belt"
10. Barbara Sòrgoni, "The Scripts of Alberto Pollera, an Italian officer in Colonial Eritrea: Administration, Ethnography and Gender"
11. Douglas Johnson, "From Political Intelligence to Colonial Anthropology: Ethnography in the Sudan Intelligence Reports and Sudan Notes and Records"
12. Gary Wilder, "Colonial Ethnology and Political Rationality in French West Africa"


Helen Tilley is Assistant Professor in the History Department at Princeton University with affiliations to the Programs in the History of Science and African Studies. Robert Gordon is a Professor of anthropology at the University of Vermont and a Research Affiliate at Free State University. His most recent book is "Tarzan was an Expatriate and other tales in the anthropology of adventure" edited with Luis Vivanco

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