While this encyclopedia places emphasis on the customs and cultural practices of each state, history, politics, and economics are also addressed. Because entries average 14,000 to 15,000 words each, contributors are able to expound more extensively on each country than in similar encyclopedic works with shorter entries. As a result, readers will gain a more complete understanding of what life is like in Africa's 54 nations and territories, and will be better able to draw cross-cultural comparisons based on their reading.
Toyin Falola, PhD, is a university distinguished teaching professor and holder of the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
Daniel Jean-Jacques is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies the history of science in late colonial Nigeria.
This work defines conflict broadly to encompass political instability and state failure, ethno-religious tensions, government and political corruption, economic mismanagement and poverty, cult violence, and youth gangsterism. Thematically organized chapters examine the origins and development of explosive hot spots—including Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo—in West Africa, Nigeria, Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central Africa, and the Great Lakes region. The book also explores outside factors that have impacted African conflicts, such as superpower Cold War manipulation and foreign influence and intervention.
North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an “American” or “Canadian” culture, but rather into one of the eleven distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory.
In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations, which conform to neither state nor international boundaries. He illustrates and explains why “American” values vary sharply from one region to another. Woodard (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good) reveals how intranational differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent's history, from the American Revolution and the Civil War to the tumultuous sixties and the "blue county/red county" maps of recent presidential elections. American Nations is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America's myriad identities and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and are molding our future.
The contents are appropriate for high school and undergraduate students as well as for experts who need a refresher on groups in Africa and the Middle East. While certain ethnic groups have been combined into a single entry, some—such as the Tuareg, who are a Berber people—are described within their own entries because of their importance in history or cultural domination.
Chapters include coverage on historical background, religions and worldviews, literature and media, art and architecture, cuisine and traditional dress, gender roles, marriage, and family, social customs, and music and dance.
A timeline of key events and bibliographical essay including print and nonprint sources supplement the work.