ARB, An Asset For Social Sciences And Africa

The Africa Review of Books is born!

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) launched the Africa Review of  Books (ARB) during its 30th anniversary celebrations. The Centre of Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology (CRASC) in Oran, Algeria, which edits various publications, including INSANYAT, is proud to contribute to this African venture, jointly with the Forum for Social Studies, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This new African project will enlarge the intellectual horizon of its researchers.

The Africa Review of Books responds to an academic and social demand: reading about Africa. In the face of globalisation politics it has now become necessary to focus on what is written in Africa about Africa.

Africa is known for its wars, pandemics, natural and humanitarian disasters, droughts, and endemic diseases. But social scientists in universities and research centres, striving to produce ever-finer knowledge on the continent, are hardly ever mentioned. And what about the status of indigenous researchers? 
Will they have to be mere passive consumers of knowledge and paradigms produced elsewhere, or, at best, to act like subcontractors, whose role is to produce information?
Knowledge about Africa therefore depends on sources and data that are external to Africa. Knowledge, which is, par excellence, a social product, should be used as a common asset, and should be circulating within the African scientific community, on the one hand, and between the latter and the rest of the world, on the other hand.

There is need to devise a development strategy based on the analysis and accumulation of knowledge. The famous sociologist, Jacques Berque, who has a solid knowledge of Northern Africa, wrote that "There are no underdeveloped societies, but only underanalysed societies".

The Africa Review of Books hopes to link all those who have a strong scientific interest in Africa, by bringing to their attention books published here and elsewhere on Africa; and by promoting exchanges like those initiated by CODESRIA and other research institutions in Africa and worldwide.

By taking up the challenge of coordinating the French version of the ARB, CRASC is aware of the enormous task ahead; the challenges are as high as the common ambition of these two institutions, which CRASC is proud to be part of. We will indeed give our best to gain the trust of our readers. We also count on the cooperation of all and welcome their contributions, which will all go towards making the Africa Review of Books a success.



Africa Review Of Books / Revue Africaine Des Livres

Volume 1 N° 1, Octobre 2004


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