This study offers a “social interpretation of environmental process” for the coastal lowlands of southeastern Ghana. The Anlo-Ewe, sometimes hailed as the quintessential sea fishermen of the West African coast, are a previously non-maritime people who developed a maritime tradition. As a fishing community the Anlo have a strong attachment to their land. In the twentieth century coastal erosion has brought about a collapse of the balance between nature and culture. The Anlo have sought spiritual explanations but at the same time have responded politically by developing broader ties with Ewe-speaking peoples along the coast.
There has long been a need for a new textbook on West Africa’s history. In Themes in West Africa’s History, editor Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and his contributors meet this need, examining key themes in West Africa’s prehistory to the present through the lenses of their different disciplines.
The contents of the book comprise an introduction and thirteen chapters divided into three parts. Each chapter provides an overview of existing literature on major topics, as well as a short list of recommended reading, and breaks new ground through the incorporation of original research. The first part of the book examines paths to a West African past, including perspectives from archaeology, ecology and culture, linguistics, and oral traditions. Part two probes environment, society, and agency and historical change through essays on the slave trade, social inequality, religious interaction, poverty, disease, and urbanization. Part three sheds light on contemporary West Africa in exploring how economic and political developments have shaped religious expression and identity in significant ways.
Themes in West Africa’s History represents a range of intellectual views and interpretations from leading scholars on West Africa’s history. It will appeal to college undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in the way it draws on different disciplines and expertise to bring together key themes in West Africa’s history, from prehistory to the present.