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In My Time of DyingA History of Death and the Dead in West Africa$
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John Parker

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193151.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
In My Time of Dying

John Parker

Princeton University Press

This chapter is concerned about death, dying and the dead in Africa. It focuses on one region of the continent, encompassed by the present-day nation of Ghana, but the chapter seeks to contribute to an understanding of the history of death more broadly. It presents the book's chronological reach, extending over some four centuries, from around 1600 to the 1950s. Indeed, the use of Ghana as a case study was in part determined by a desire to think about changing perceptions, experiences and cultures of mortality in Africa over as long a period as possible. The chapter argues that the long history of encounter and creativity of continent's diverse state-builders, the Akan, and the British is fundamental to the project of writing about death across the divide between the precolonial and colonial eras of African history. Ultimately, the chapter unveils the author's interest and inspiration in writing the relationship between the living and the dead in West Africa.

Keywords:   death, dead, Africa, Ghana, mortality, Akan, British, West Africa

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