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Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’

Speaking Differently


Edited By George J. Sefa Dei and Paul Banahene Adjei

Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’: Speaking Differently discusses numerous areas of interest and issues about Africa, including contemporary challenges and possibilities of development. The book critically engages the many ways of presenting ‘development,’ highlighting the interplay of tradition and modernity as well as contestations over knowledge production in ‘post-colonial’ Africa. It offers cautionary words to field practitioners, researchers, and social theorists who work in development using language that is easily accessible to laypersons. This book is also for undergraduate and graduate courses on development, global education, rural development, and Africa studies. For readers looking for something new about Africa beyond the old stories of catastrophes and human misery, this book will be indispensable. It demonstrates that even in the face of many failures, tragedies, and suffering, Africa’s stories can be told with hope and a sense of possibility.
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← vi | vii → Acknowledgments


The late President Julius Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania has noted that Africans have a certain kind of power and that is “the power of the ‘debt.’” This comment is fully captured in this African proverb: “Those who forget the language of gratitude will never be at peace with laughter.” What these words of wisdom teach us is to learn to show appreciation to those who do us good.

Spurred by these wise words, the authors of this edited book, George Dei and Paul Banahene Adjei, acknowledge the contributions of certain individuals who made this book project possible. We thank our creator and God who remains our helper even in difficult times for His support in making this book possible. We also acknowledge those who have gone before us and thank them for laying the foundation upon which we continue to build our knowledge. Special mention should be made of the students in Professor George Dei’s graduate-level course, SES 1924H Modernization, Development, and Education, fall 2011, for ideas shared that informed thinking toward this book project. For Shirley Steinberg, Christopher Myers, and publisher Peter Lang, we thank you for believing in this book project from the beginning. We also thank all the contributing authors for their chapters.

Paul Banahene Adjei makes special mention of Professor George Dei for remaining his mentor, encourager, and supporter in this difficult journey in the academy. In this era in which the academy is gradually becoming that which “eats ← vii...

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