African history has gone through many incarnations as an academic discipline.
Most recently, there’s been a global turn in African historiography. This shift has been prompted by a greater awareness of the powerful forces of globalization and the need to provide an African historical perspective on this phenomenon. This has helped to place the continent at the centre of global—and human—history.
It’s important to explain the role of Africa in the world’s global past. This helps assert its position in the gradual making of global affairs. As an approach, it’s a radical departure from colonial views of Africa. It also complements the radical post-colonial histories that appeared from the 1950s and 1960s. And it may offer another framework for thinking through the curriculum reform and decolonization debate that’s emerged in South Africa’s universities over the past few years.