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The International African Institute (IAI) aims to promote the scholarly study of Africa's history, societies and cultures. The institute realizes its aims primarily by means of scholarly publishing. Read more about us.

The IAI publishes the long established and prestigious journal, Africa, the annual Africa Bibliography, the International African Library series, the African Arguments series; and the Readings in… series, for use in tertiary level teaching of African studies.


hostraBook launch: Among the Mende in Sierra Leone: the letters from Sjoerd Hofstra (1934-36)
Thursday 19 June 2014, 5.30-7pm, Room 116, SOAS
Sjoerd Hofstra was one of three anthropologists sent to British West Africa in the 1930s by the International African Institute to implement a programme of ‘deep immersion’ fieldwork, mentored by Bronislaw Malinowski. The IAI is launching a newly edited and translated collection of Hofstra's letters from the field that is published by the African Studies Centre, Leiden. For further details download this PDF.

International African Library book launch and new titles
Marloes Janson’s Islam, Youth, and Modernity in the Gambia: the Tablighi Jama’at was launched on 19 February 2014 at SOAS. See the publicity poster for details. A further two new books are published in the series in 2014: by Joel Cabrita and Ilana van Wyk. For further details on new and recently published titles see the publicity brochure.

Africa prize-winning article
We are delighted to announce that Andrew J. Eisenberg’s article Hip-Hop and Cultural Citizenship on Kenya’s 'Swahili Coast' (Africa 82: 4, 2012) has been awarded the Richard Waterman Prize (Best Article by a Junior Scholar in the Ethnomusicological Study of Popular Music) by the Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Read this article freely here.

Africa ‘local intellectuals’
A new article is published in this strand of the journal by Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye: Writing the self in rural Mali: domestic archives and genres of personal writing. Africa 83(2) (May 2013). For a link to the full text, freely accessible, go to the article at Cambridge journals. You can also view all articles published in the ‘Local Intellectuals’ strand of the journal to date and freely accessible.

Africa Impact Factor
Africa’s Thomson Reuters (ISI) Impact Factor for 2012 was 0.855 ranking the journal in the top ten of the Area Studies category.

Africa Bibliography – archive available
Compiling bibliographical records since 1984, the IAI’s Africa Bibliography is being digitised. Records from 1990 to 2011 are now available via the online database at

Africa journal – full archive available
For over eight decades Africa has been publishing the work of eminent Africanists: from Malinowski, Evans-Pritchard and Radcliffe-Brown through Mary Douglas, Robin Horton and Johannes Fabian, to Achille Mbembe, Birgit Meyer and Kojo Amanor. The entire archive from 1928 is now available digitally on the journal's website see

New publications

Islam, Youth and Modernity in the Gambia‬: the Tablighi Jama'atJanson
Marloes Janson

This monograph deals with the sweeping emergence of the Tablighi Jama'at in the Gambia, a transnational Islamic missionary movement that has its origins in the reformist tradition that emerged in India in the mid-nineteenth century. It explores how the movement could appeal to the local Muslim population, youth and women in particular, in a West African setting. By recording the biographical narratives of five Gambian Tablighis, the book provides an understanding of the ambiguities and contradictions young people are confronted with in their (re)negotiation of Muslim identity. It analyses how Gambian youth go about their lives within the framework of neo-liberal reforms and renegotiated parameters informed by the Tablighi model of how to be a ‘true’ Muslim: interpreted as a believer who is able to reconcile his or her faith with a modern lifestyle.

Marloes Janson is a lecturer in anthropology at SOAS, University of London

Published for the IAI by Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107040571, 255pp, November 2013

Land Grabs

The Great African Land Grab? Agricultural Investment and the Global Food System
Lorenzo Cotula

Large-scale land acquisitions in Africa have stoked controversy, making headlines in media reports across the world. Dubbed ‘land grabs’, these have become one of the most talked about and contentious topics amongst those studying, working in or writing about Africa. Some commentators have welcomed the trend as a bearer of new livelihood opportunities while others have pointed to negative social impacts, including loss of local land rights, threats to local food security, and marginalisation of small-scale farming. Lorenzo Cotula, one of the leading experts in the field, casts a critical eye over the most reliable evidence available on this hotly contested topic, examining the implications of land deals in Africa for its people, for world agriculture and food.

Lorenzo Cotula, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), works on land and on natural resource investment in lower-income countries. He has established himself as an unrivalled expert on 'land grabs'.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN: 9781780324203 256pp.  July 2013

Youth and Revolution in TunisiaSexuality an Social Justice in Africa
Alcinda Honwana

The uprising in Tunisia in late 2010 and early 2011 kick-started the series of upheavals across the region now known as the Arab Spring. In this remarkable work, Alcinda Honwana, who was herself in Tunisia at the time of the revolution, goes beyond superficial accounts of what occurred to explore the defining role of the country's youth. Drawing on fresh, first-person testimony from those who shaped events, the book describes in detail the experiences of young activists through the 29 days of the revolution and the challenges they encountered after the fall of the regime and the dismantling of the ruling party.

Alcinda Honwana has written extensively on the links between political and violent conflict, culture, children, and youth. Her most recent work has been on youth and social change in Africa focusing on Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia. Her publications include The Time of Youth: work, social change, and politics in Africa (Kumarian, 2012) and Makers and Breakers: children and youth in postcolonial Africa (2005, co-edited with Filip De Boeck).

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 978-1780324616 160pp. July 2013

Sexuality and Social Justice in AfricaSexuality an Social Justice in Africa
Marc Epprecht

The persecution of people in Africa on the basis of their assumed or perceived homosexual orientation has received considerable coverage in the popular media in recent years. Gay-bashing by high political and religious figures in Zimbabwe and Gambia; draconian new laws against lesbians and gays and their supporters in Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda; the imprisonment and extortion of gay men in Senegal and Cameroon; and so-called corrective rapes of lesbians in South Africa have all rightly sparked international condemnation. However, much of the analysis thus far has been highly critical of African leadership and culture without considering local nuances, historical factors and external influences that are contributing to the problem. Such commentary also overlooks grounds for optimism and the role played by lgbti and HIV/AIDS activism in the struggle for sexual rights and justice in Africa, not just for sexual minorities but for the majority population as well.

Marc Epprecht is a Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University, Canada.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 9781780323817 208pp. June 2013

Inside African Anthropology. Monica Wilson and Her InterpretersBank
Edited by Andrew Bank and Leslie J. Bank

This book offers rare insights into the making of southern African anthropology through an analysis of the life and work of Monica Hunter Wilson, South Africa’s most distinguished anthropologist of the 20th century. Drawing on a massive personal archive, this biography of Hunter Wilson's life and work explores her main fieldwork and intellectual projects in southern Africa between the 1920s and the 1960s. The main focus of the book is on her fieldwork projects and the role of her interpreters, associates and collaborators in the production of anthropological knowledge.

...a rich and fascinating volume of papers on the life and work of the social anthropologist, Monica Wilson, addressing some major questions in the study of the politics of knowledge creation in Southern Africa. – Megan Vaughan

This book covers Wilson’s collaborative networks over decades, and thus it is a history of the field of anthropology more than a study of the individual. – Nancy Jacobs

Published for the IAI by Cambridge University Press.

ISBN 9781107029385 c.280pp. March 2013