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Mistaking Africa : Curiosities and Inventions of the American Mind



Pub. Date:
Perseus Books

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This is the 2nd edition with a publication date of 8/4/2008.
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For many Americans the mention of Africa immediately conjures up images of safaris, ferocious animals, strangely dressed "tribesmen," and impenetrable jungles. Although the occasional newspaper headline alerts us to genocide, AIDS, malaria, or civil war in Africa, most of us know very little about the continent. However we still carry strong mental images of Africa, which are reflected in American advertising, movies, amusement parks, cartoons, and many other corners of our society.Few think to question these perceptions or how they came to be so deeply lodged in the collective American consciousness. Curtis Keim'sMistaking Africalooks at the historical evolution of this mindset and examines the role that popular media play in the creation of our mental images of Africa. Keim addresses the most prevalent myths and preconceptions and demonstrates how these prevent a true understanding of the enormously diverse peoples and cultures of Africa. Updated throughout, the second edition includes an entirely revised chapter on Africa in images, which analyzes portrayals of Africa in popular media, including print advertising by corporations such as Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, IBM,Voguemagazine, Honda, and Snapple. New to the second edition as well is an appendix on learning more about Africa.ContentsPart One: Introduction 1. Changing Our Mind about Africa 2. How We LearnPart Two: Evolutionism 3. The Origins of "Darkest Africa" 4. "Our Living Ancestors": Twentieth-Century Evolutionism 5. Real Africa, Wise Africa 6. We Should Help ThemPart Three: Further Misperceptions 7. Cannibalism: No Accounting for Taste 8. Africans Live in Tribes, Don't They? 9. Safari: Beyond Our Wildest Dreams 10. Africa in ImagesPart Four: New Directions 11. Race and Culture: The Same and the Other 12. From Imagination to DialogueAppendix: Learning More

Author Biography

Curtis A. Keim

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Changing Our Mind About Africap. 3
Speaking "African"p. 4
The Use and Misuse of Stereotypesp. 6
Stereotypes over Timep. 11
A Word About Wordsp. 12
How We Learnp. 15
Television Culturep. 16
The Print Mediap. 18
Moviesp. 23
Amusement Parksp. 25
Celebritiesp. 28
Other Sourcesp. 29
The Origins of "Darkest Africa"p. 35
Africans in Antiquityp. 36
Western Views of Africans, ca. 1400-1830p. 38
Birth of the Dark Continentp. 40
A Myth for Conquestp. 44
"Our Living Ancestors": Twentieth-Century Evolutionismp. 49
Biological Evolutionismp. 50
Evolutionismp. 51
The Primitive Africanp. 53
Changing Paradigmsp. 56
Lingering Evolutionismp. 61
Real Africa, Wise Africap. 63
African Culturesp. 64
Art and Artifactp. 66
Touring Africap. 69
Selling Sexp. 73
Africans in the Statesp. 74
An African American Examplep. 77
The Noble Africanp. 79
We Should Help Themp. 83
Authoritarian Helpp. 85
Market Helpp. 86
Conversion Helpp. 88
Gift-Giving Helpp. 90
Participatory Helpp. 93
Military Helpp. 95
The Failure of Helpp. 96
Rethinking Developmentp. 98
Helping Outp. 100
Further Misperceptions
Cannibalism: No Accounting for Tastep. 105
Africans Live in Tribes, Don't They?p. 113
A Textbook Definitionp. 114
A Word with a Historyp. 115
The End of the Tribep. 117
Contemporary African Uses of Tribep. 118
Other Tribesp. 120
African Tribes in Americap. 121
Alternatives to Tribep. 124
Safari: Beyond Our Wildest Dreamsp. 129
Where the Wild Things Aren'tp. 130
The Good Old Daysp. 131
The Decline of the Great White Hunting Safarip. 136
The Tourist Safari: Animals in Picturesp. 138
The Safari from a Distancep. 140
The Lion Is Kingp. 142
Hunting Africap. 144
Africa in Imagesp. 147
Black, White, and Red All Overp. 148
Africa's Got Chemistryp. 151
One Challenge per Continent, Pleasep. 151
Our Living Ancestorsp. 153
Africa Is Dyeingp. 154
Flights of Fantasyp. 156
"Totally in the Wild"p. 156
Dances with Lionsp. 159
African Salesbeastsp. 161
New Directions
Race and Culture: The Same and the Otherp. 169
Racep. 169
Culturep. 172
On Being Humanp. 175
From Imagination to Dialoguep. 179
Evolutionismp. 180
A Kind of Equalityp. 182
An African Dialoguep. 184
Learning Morep. 189
Notesp. 195
Works Citedp. 215
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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