Rereading The History and Historiography of Epistemic Domination and Resistance In Africa
The process of narrating and interpreting the African past has long been an intellectual struggle against European assumptions and prejudices about the nature of time and history in Africa. As the historian David William Cohen states, “The major issue in the reconstruction of the African past is the question of how far voices exterior to Africa shape the presentation of Africa's past and present” (1985:198). Many historians, especially those without any background or training in African historiography, have assumed, incorrectly, that prior to European contact with Africa, indigenous “traditions” were ancient, permanent, and reproduced from generation to generation without change. This is the false image of cultural isolation and temporal stagnation that has been assiduously disseminated in many parts of the world.