Brief interlude from my thesis-writing to share a couple of links.
Sara Dorman, at the University of Edinburgh, has been collecting political ephemera in Africa for a long time. She recently started a Flickr page, The Material Culture of Politics in Africa, which might be worth a perusal. There are a lot of photos of ephemera from election season in a handful of countries.
Browsing the collection at this site, it reminded me of the African Political Ephemera and Realia Project over at the University of Oregon. The project includes everything from bags to mugs in addition to the usual posters, leaflets, and clothing items – all of it political. These databases are great collections of political material from across the continent.
Over at Africa is a Country (very appropriate, I know), Laura J. Mitchell linked to an interactive study map of Africa that she created, saying that:
As Africanists, our stock-in-trade includes pushing back. As teachers, scholars, and commentators we poke and prod at constructed geographies, charting unities across previously demarcated sub-regions and identifying particularities in eco-zones or communities that are conventionally grouped with larger nations. In a post-modern landscape, geography is admittedly malleable. But that does not make it optional. I may be hopelessly old-school to say so: but to make sense of a place, you still have to find it on a map.”
The map, which can be found here, is a pretty straight-forward geography study tool. You can hover over each country in study mode to learn which is which, and you can test yourself by dragging country names over the geographic location.
Whether you’re a student trying to learn about Africa’s many states or just a curious geography nerd, it’s worth a look.
(Shameful admission: I still mix up the western coast of West Africa.)