Africa Since 1940 the Introduction to Frederick Essay

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Africa Since 1940

The introduction to Frederick Cooper's "Africa since 1940: The past of the present," asserts that unless one has thoroughly researched African history, or has lived in Africa, it is nearly impossible for an outsider to chronologically organize all of the events that has happened within its borders in order to come up with some kind of clear statement about nationalism. Cooper enters his book with the ideas of colonialism (pre-colonialism, colonialism, and post-colonialism) and how that shaped Africa as it is today, and how that influences Africa as a nation together, a nation divided, and a nation trying to find some sort of statement about their own country.

Cooper's book about nationalism within Africa, and how Africa came to rest at this current (the present is 1994) climate of dualism between tribal bloodshed in Rwanda, and the victorious election of President Nelson Mandela in South Africa (1). Cooper takes the reader back, and even back further to the 1700's where Africa was being colonized by several countries such as Britain, France, and Italy.
Few of the African states seen today remained independent, and instead became heavily influenced with their colonizers religion (Christianity or Catholicism), economy, and even racism (12-14). The colonizers themselves struggled with how to label, organize, segregate, and push forward through all the "tribalism" within Africa, simultaneously greatly influencing and subtlety influencing the delicate economic climate (12-14).

Loosely defined, nationalism means, "a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms." (Wikipedia). African states in conflict over which state would represent Africa to the world, since so many of the states differ so much in language, religion, and tribes, not to mention to various influences of the colonizers. Cooper asserts early on that colonialism is the primary catalyst for nationalism within Africa's borders due to the fact that although African can't agree on which state should represent Africa as a….....

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