New Book Series - African Identities: Past and Present

Carina Ray's picture
Call for Publications
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Race Studies, Social History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies



Toyin Falola and Carina Ray, Series Editors

African Identities: Past and Present, our new book series with Cambridge University Press, offers scholars a unique publishing platform for exploring the multivalent processes through which collective identities have come into being. Books in this series will probe the work that African identities have been made to do, the varied investments that historical and contemporary actors have made in them, and the epistemological dilemmas and intellectually fraught politics of writing about such contingent categories of being. The focus on African identities makes clear the series’ commitment to publishing histories of the complex and ongoing processes of identity formation through which Africans have taken on shared senses of being. This series calls upon its authors to unpack the flexible, fluid, contingent, and interactive nature of collective African identities, while also exploring how historical actors have alternatively sought to delimit, expand or otherwise challenge the boundaries of such identities.

African Identities: Past and Present welcomes proposals from authors who draw on the tension between theory and practice by productively exploring those categories of identity that are important to and widely used by African historical actors, even as many scholars today regard some of those units of analysis, namely ethnic categories, as largely invented identities—products of the colonial encounter and its aftermath. The series’ intention is to critically engage ethnic identities in ways that reveal their constructed and often invented nature, without obscuring the degree to which such identities become meaningful and historically productive categories of their own. In this regard, we are especially interested in publishing books that probe the intersectional nature of identities framed in ethnic terms, such as Dinka, Hausa, and Zulu. This requires a combination of rigorous historical analysis of purportedly self-evident categories of people, such as the Asante or the Shona, and a more creative and critical approach that privileges asking how people construct what it means to be Asante or Shona and what other kinds of identities are invented, subsumed, subjugated or lost altogether in the process. While a core mission of this series is to provide sophisticated analyses of African identities that are expressed in terms of ethnicity, we are deeply committed to publishing cutting edge work on other forms of identity, especially but not limited to religious, political, racial, sexual, gendered, and artistic identities. Books in this series will ask bold questions, offer new methodological and theoretical approaches to answer them, and in the process will reframe how we think about African identities.

About the Series Editors: Toyin Falola is University Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, the University of Texas at Austin. Author of many books and essays, and the recipient of many life time career awards, including seven honorary doctorates, he has served as the President of the African Studies Association and was recently appointed by the Library of Congress to the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South. Carina Ray is Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. She is author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana and numerous other journal articles and book chapters, as well as coeditor of Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: A Critical Reader and Navigating African Maritime History. She currently serves on the editorial boards of History in Africa and Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana.

Please send a letter of introduction, a 2-3 page preliminary proposal, and a current CV to:

Toyin Falola, Series Editor: 

Carina Ray, Series Editor:



Contact Info: 

Carina Ray

Associate Professor

African and Afro-American Studies

Brandeis University

Contact Email: