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With Gods on Their Side

Basil Davidson, 7 September 1995

The Church in Africa, 1450-1950 
by Adrian Hastings.
Oxford, 706 pp., £65, January 1995, 0 19 826921 8
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A History of Christianity in Africa from Antiquity to the Present 
by Elizabeth Isichei.
SPCK, 420 pp., £25, February 1995, 0 281 04764 2
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Religion in Africa: Experience and Expression 
edited by Thomas Blakely, Walter vanBeek and Dennis Thomson.
Currey, 512 pp., £45, November 1994, 0 85255 206 8
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... Long-term ‘endings of an era’ tend nowadays to be announced with remarkable confidence. This may even be the case with an issue as controversial as the ending of territorial imperialism, truly a large affair. Yet there is much to suggest that it is ending, and the appearance of two large histories of Christianity in Africa, the first of their kind on any such scale, can be seen as another signal of this: a summing-up has evidently come to seem possible as well as desirable ...

Report from Sirius B

Jeremy Harding: ‘Phantom Africa’, 22 March 2018

Phantom Africa 
by Michel Leiris, translated by Brent Hayes Edwards.
Seagull, 711 pp., £42, January 2017, 978 0 85742 377 1
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... such philosophical insight’. Mutterings came to a head in 1991, when the Belgian anthropologist Walter vanBeek decided to take Griaule and Dieterlen apart: they had forced their material, and Griaule had leaned on his informants, including Ogotemmêli. Whatever he thought of the fieldwork, ...

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