A new detailed map of mainly precolonial paths in Africa can be derived from a late nineteenth-century map series. The map is useful less for its precision than for suggesting new understandings and questions about the roles of indigenous shaping of landscapes of connection. While further research is needed on specific areas and changes over time, appreciating the significant production of precolonial paths helps enrich recent reconceptualizations of the relations between cartography, colonialism, and capitalism. In addition, it also helps move away from pessimistic determinism and towards more promising understandings of political economy and possibilities for social change.
1 May 2018
Aharon de Grassi; Changing Paths and Histories: Mapping Precolonial Connections in Africa. Radical History Review 1 May 2018; 2018 (131): 169–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-4355305
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