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.
Marloes Janson shortlisted for BBC prize
We are delighted that Marloes Janson’s International African library monograph was shortlisted for the BBC Ethnography award initiated by Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed programme in association with the British Sociological Association. The book was shortlisted from over 100 entries. See the full write-up at www.soas.ac.uk/news/newsitem92768.html
Book 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 Joel Cabrita: ‘An introduction to the letters of Isaiah Moteka: the correspondence of a twentieth-century South African Zionist minister’, Africa 84(2) (May 2014). You 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 cambridge.org/login.do.
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 journals.cambridge.org/afr
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa: a church of strangers
Ilana van Wyk
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a church of Brazilian origin, has been enormously successful in establishing branches and attracting followers in post-apartheid South Africa. Unlike other Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (PCC), the UCKG insists that relationships with God be devoid of ‘emotions’, that socialisation between members be kept to a minimum and that charity and fellowship are ‘useless’ in materialising God's blessings. Instead, the UCKG urges members to sacrifice large sums of money to God for delivering wealth, health, social harmony and happiness. While outsiders condemn these rituals as empty or manipulative, this book shows that they are locally meaningful, demand sincerity to work, have limits, and are informed by local ideas about human bodies, agency and ontological balance. As an ethnography of people rather than of institutions, this book offers fresh insights into the mass PCC movement that has swept across Africa since the early 1990s.
Published for the IAI by Cambridge University Press, SBN 9781107057241, 300pp, 2014, hardback
Text and Authority in the South African Nazaretha Church
This monograph gives an account of one of the largest African churches in South Africa, Ibandla lamaNazaretha, or Church of the Nazaretha. Founded in 1910 by charismatic faith-healer Isaiah Shembe, the Nazaretha church, with over four million members, has become an influential social and political player in the region. Deepl y influenced by a transnational evangelical literary culture, Nazaretha believers have patterned their lives upon the Christian Bible. They cast themselves as actors who enact scriptural drama upon African soil. But Nazaretha believers also believe the existing Christian Bible to be in need of updating and revision. For this reason, they have written further scriptures – a new 'Bible' – which testify to the miraculous work of their founding prophet, Shembe. Joel Cabrita's book charts the key role that these sacred texts play in making, breaking and contesting social power and authority, both within the church and more broadly in South African public life.
Published for the IAI by Cambridge University Press, ISBN, 9781107054431, 400pp, 2014, hardback
Islam, Youth and Modernity in the Gambia: the Tablighi Jama'at
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
Inside African Anthropology. Monica Wilson and Her Interpreters
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