Birmingham University African Studies Series ebooks

The Birmingham University African Studies Series explores African area studies as a site of interdisciplinary research and reflection. Bringing together history, politics, anthropology and literature, each volume features leading scholars as well as new voices. You can now download these as ebooks.

Each volume had its origins in an interdisciplinary conference convened at the Centre of West African Studies (now the Department of African Studies and Anthropology), University of Birmingham.  The series culminated in an engaging memoir by the Centre’s illustrious founder, John D. Fage.


Discourse and its Disguises: the interpretation of African oral texts. Edited by Karin Barber and P.F. de Moraes Farias.

Explorations of oral genres and reflections on how they can best be interpreted.

Chapters by Karin Barber, Stephen Bulman, Louis Brenner, Mamadou Diawara, Roy Dilley, Graham Furniss, Liz Gunner, T.C.McCaskie, Moraes Farias, Elizabeth Tonkin, Landeg White, and Olabiyi Yai.

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Self-assertion and Brokerage: early cultural nationalism in West Africa. Edited by P. F. de Moraes Farias and Karin Barber.

Late nineteenth and early twentieth century elites in West Africa functioned as active and creative  cultural brokers between Africa and Europe. These papers look at their productivity in a variety of discursive fields. 

Chapters by Karin Barber, Michel R. Doortmont, Werner Glinga, Frances Harding, Ray Jenkins, Robin Law, T.C.McCaskie, Moraes Farias, Agneta Pallinder, and Elizabeth Tonkin.

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The Gambia: studies in society and politics. Edited by Arnold Hughes.

An interdisciplinary collection of articles on The Gambia.

Chapters by Hazel R. Barrett & Angela W. Browne, Sir Philip Bridges, Stewart Brown, Arnold Hughes, Clare Madge, David Perfect, Kenneth Swindell, and John A. Wiseman.

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The Pressures of the Text: orality, texts and the telling of tales. Edited by Stewart Brown.

The interfaces of orality, writing and print in Africa, seen from different angles.

Chapters by Ada Adeghe, Kabir Ahmed, Karin Barber, Curwen Best,  Stewart Brown, Carolyn Cooper & Hubert Devonish, Al Creighton, Philip Nanton, Femi Oyebode, Ato Quayson, and Nana Wilson-Tagoe.

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Kiss and Quarrel: Yoruba/English strategies of mediation. Edited by Stewart Brown.

This volume brings together a stellar assemblage of poets, novelists and critics to explore what happens when English and Yoruba languages meet in creative writing.

Chapters by Fẹmi Abọdunrin, Funṣọ Aiyejina, Karin Barber, Stewart Brown, Jane Bryce, Jo Dandy, Pietro Deandrea, Robert Fraser, Conrad James, Stephanie Newell, Bisi Ogunṣina, Ọladẹjọ Okediji, Niyi Ọṣundare, Fẹmi Oyebọde, and Norman Weinstein.

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To Africa and Back, by J.D.Fage.

One of the leading historians of Africa, author of A History of Africa, John Fage was one of that small group who more or less invented African Studies in Britain, institutionalised it in British universities and worked to establish its claims and credentials in the wider world. As part of that process he founded the Centre of West African Studies at the University of Birmingham and served as its Director for two decades. To Africa and Back chronicles the various facets of John Fage's life and work, from his childhood memories of family and school, through his years of military service and academic work in Africa, to his scholarly and administrative career at the University of Birmingham.

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