Book launch and reception for two new books related to Angola

Angola book launch and reception poster

Book Launch & Reception for two new books related to Angola:

National Liberation in Post-Colonial Southern Africa by Christian Williams and
Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola
by Justin Pearce

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stanford University Center for African Studies and the Four Decades of Angolan Independence Geballe Workshop, Stanford University Libraries is hosting a book launch of two new books: one on politcal history in central Angola from 1975-2002; and the other, an ethnography of members of the Namibian liberation movement, SWAPO (South West African People's Organization), many of whom were exiles in Angola, Zambia and Tanzania during the liberation struggles in Southern Africa.

The authors of these two books will give brief introductions of their work and sign bookplates. The Stanford University Bookstore will be on hand to take book orders.

This event is open to the public and takes place on Monday, November 16th, 2015 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in Green Library, 5th floor, Bender Room.

Angola book launch and reception book coverNational Liberation in Post-Colonial Southern Africa by Williams

This book traces the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) across its three decades in exile through rich, local histories of the camps where Namibian exiles lived in Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola. Christian A. Williams highlights how different Namibians experienced these sites, as well as the tensions that developed within SWAPO as Namibians encountered one another and as officials asserted their power and protected their interests within a national community. The book then follows Namibians who lived in exile into post-colonial Namibia, examining the extent to which divisions and hierarchies that emerged in the camps continue to shape how Namibians relate to one another today, undermining the more just and humane society that many had imagined. In developing these points about SWAPO, the book draws attention to Southern African literature more widely, suggesting parallels across the region and defining a field of study that examines post-colonial Africa through “the camp.”

About the author:
Christian A. Williams is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. His doctoral thesis, completed at the University of Michigan in 2009, examines camps that SWAPO administered for Namibian exiles living in Africa's front-line states during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Williams continues to study liberation movement camps, examining how their histories circulate and become incorporated into national and humanitarian discourses. Recent publications include "National History in Southern Africa: Reflections on the 'Remember Cassinga?' Exhibition," Kronos 36 (2010), and "Ordering the Nation: SWAPO in Zambia, 1974–1976," Journal of Southern African Studies 37 (2011).

Angola book launch and reception book coverPolitical Identity and Conflict in Central Angola by Pearce

Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola, 1975–2002 examines the internal politics of the war that divided Angola for more than a quarter-century after independence. Justin Pearce’s argument is based on original interviews with farmers and town dwellers, soldiers and politicians in Central Angola. He uses these to examine the ideologies about nation and state that elites deployed in pursuit of hegemony, and traces how people responded to these efforts at politicisation. The material presented here demonstrates the power of the ideas of state and nation in shaping perceptions of self-interest and determining political loyalty. Yet the book also shows how political allegiances could and did change in response to the experience of military force. In so doing, it brings the Angolan case to the center of debates on conflict in post-colonial Africa and poses questions about the relationship between nation, state and political formations.

About the author:
Justin Pearce is a graduate of UCT (Univ. of Cape Town) and worked as a journalist for more than a decade before starting the doctoral studies that led to his new book. The idea for the book, and his interest in Lusophone Africa, can be traced back to the two years he lived in Angola as a reporter for the BBC at the end of the civil war. The interviews that he conducted during that time, with people who had a strong sense of themselves as Angolan despite having had no contact with the Angolan state, raised the questions about political and national identity that he explores in his book. Justin is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a visiting research associate at WISER. His current research investigates the roots and the character of political legitimacy in contemporary Angola and Mozambique.

(Reprinted from Cambridge University Press Release, 2015)

Please RSVP to Regina Roberts.

Sponsored by: Stanford University Libraries, Humanities Center, WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & Int'l Justice, History Department, Department of Anthropology, and the Center for African Studies 

Free and open to the public.