Africa in Focus

We publish a wide range of content focused on Africa across both our book and journal portfolios. Read on below for the Spotlight books and journals from our Africa in Focus subject area!

We are looking to contract new books and reach out to new journal contributors within the subject area of African studies. For more information on publishing with us click here.

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Check out an In Conversation interview with Journal of African Media Studies Founder/Editor-in-Chief Winston Mano:


Spotlight Books and Journals


In the current academic climate there is an ongoing repositioning of media and cultural studies outside the Anglo-American axis. The peer-reviewed Journal of African Media Studies contributes to this repositioning by providing a forum for debate on the historical and contemporary aspects of media and communication in Africa. This title is indexed with Scopus and the Web of Science’s Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). For more information, to access the journal or to subscribe visit the Discover platform here.  

The Journal of African Cinemas is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal that explores the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. This title is indexed with Scopus and the Web of Science’s Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI). For more information, to access the journal or to subscribe visit the Discover platform here.

Heavy Metal Identities in Post-Colonial Africa

Discusses African metal scenes and conversations around the presence of heavy metal in the continent, and how acts in Africa are changing the conversation of what is possible. Looks at the continent's blossoming scenes through themes including hybridity, othering and how scenes have collided with difficult political systems. 31 b&w illus.Author interview with HUCK Magazine

Making Movies in Africa 1899 to 1925

Black and White Bioscope recovers a neglected chapter in the histories of world cinema and Africa. It tells the story of movie production in Africa that long predated francophone African films and Nollywood that are the focus of most histories of this industry.   At the same time as Hollywood was starting, a film industry in Southern Africa was surging ahead in integrating production, distribution and exhibition. African Film Productions Limited made silent movies using technical and acting talent from Britain, the United States and Australia, as well as from Africa. These included not only the original 'long trek movie' and the prototype for the movies Zulu and Zulu Dawn but also the first King Solomon's Mines and the original Blue Lagoon, featuring African actors such as Goba, Tom Zulu and Msoga Mwana, who starred as the black revolutionary in Prester John.   In this lavishly illustrated book, fifty movies are reconstructed with graphic photographs and plot synopses – plus quotations from reviews – so that readers can rediscover this long-lost treasure trove of silent cinema.

An Archaeology of Medical Science in Africa

This book presents a close look at the vestiges of twentieth-century medical work at five key sites in Africa: Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya and Tanzania. The authors aim to understand the afterlife of scientific institutions and practices and the 'aftertime' of scientific modernity and its attendant visions of progress and transformation. Straightforward scholarly work is juxtaposed here with altogether more experimental approaches to fieldwork and analysis, including interview fragments; brief, reflective essays; and a rich photographic archive. The result is an unprecedented view of the lingering traces of medical science from Africa's past.  

In a searing 2012 Guardian op-ed, Hannah Azieb Pool took Western fashion designers to task for their so-called African-inspired clothing. 'Dear Fashion,' she wrote, 'Africa is a continent, not a country. Can you imagine anyone describing a fashion trend as "European-inspired?" Of course not. It's meaningless.' Now, with Fashion Cities Africa, Pool aims to correct the misconceptions about African fashion, providing key context for contemporary African fashion scenes and capturing the depth and breadth of truly African fashion. Tied to the Fashion Cities Africa exhibition at the Brighton Museum, the book gives much needed attention to four key African fashion scenes: Nairobi, Lagos, Casablanca and Johannesburg – one from each region of the continent. Filled with interviews of leading African fashion designers, stylists and commentators, alongside hundreds of exclusive street-style images, Fashion Cities Africa is a landmark book that should be celebrated in fashion houses the world over.

Eschewing the postcolonial hubris that suggests Africa could only define itself in relation to its colonizers, a problem plaguing many studies published in the West on African cinema, this entry in the Directory of World Cinema series instead looks at African film as representing Africa for its own sake, values, and artistic choices.

Brings together research by Africanist anthropologists and architectural historians who share in the pursuit of an archaeology of modernist architecture in Africa. Case studies connect the colonial and postcolonial origins of modernist architecture, the historical processes, and present use and habitation. 132 b/w and 35 col. photographs.

Rethinking Political Communication in an African Context

Ghana is widely acknowledged by the international community as a model of democracy: the first black African sub-Saharan country to gain political independence from Britain. Focusing on the matrix offered by the media-democracy paradox in Ghana, Africa and the Global South, it will generate debate in democracy, media, journalism and communication.

Aesthetics and Politics

Moving far beyond predominant views of Africa as a place to be 'saved', and even more recent celebratory formulations of it as 'rising', African Luxury: Aesthetics and Politics highlights and critically interrogates the visual and material cultures of lavish and luxurious consumption already present on the continent.  A PDF version of this book is available for free in Open Access: African Luxury. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License and is part of Knowledge Unlatched.

Taking an inclusive approach to South African film history, this volume represents an ambitious attempt to analyze and place in appropriate sociopolitical context the aesthetic highlights of South African cinema from 1896 to the present. Thoroughly researched and fully documented by renowned film scholar Martin Botha, the book focuses on the many highly creative uses of cinematic form, style and genre as set against South Africa's complex and often turbulent social and political landscape. Included are more than two hundred illustrations and a look at many aspects of South African film history that haven't been previously documented.