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Understanding Contemporary Africa, 5th edition

April A. Gordon and Donald L. Gordon, editors
Understanding Contemporary Africa, 5th edition
ISBN: 978-1-58826-847-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-062-3
2013/511 pages/LC: 2012014906
Understanding: Introductions to the States and Regions of the Contemporary World
"Excellent.... a remarkably sound text for introductory courses on Sub-Saharan Africa."—Journal of Developing Areas

"A welcome breath of fresh air."—Orbis

"A well chosen and integrated whole.... Deserving of a prominent place in university programmes."—Canadian Journal of Development Studies


This new edition of Understanding Contemporary Africa has been thoroughly revised to reflect the many significant events and trends of the past six years—seismic political changes, the impact of new information technology, the strong presence of China and other foreign powers, and much more.

The authors provide current analyses not only of history, politics, and economics, but also geography, environmental concerns, population shifts, and social and cultural issues. Each topic is covered in an accessible style, but with reference to the latest scholarship. Maps, photographs, and a table of basic political data enhance the text, which has made its place as the best available introduction to this diverse and complex continent.


April A. Gordon is professor emeritus of sociology and director of the Women's Studies Program at Winthrop University. Donald L. Gordon is professor of political science and director of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman University.


  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • Africa: A Geographic Preface—J.W. Neff.
  • The Historical Context—T. O'Toole.
  • African Politics—D.L. Gordon.
  • The Economies of Africa—V. DeLancey.
  • African International Relations—P.J. Schraeder.
  • Population, Urbanization, and AIDS—A.A. Gordon.
  • Africa's Environmental Problems—J.E. Nyang'oro.
  • Family and Kinship—E. Shanklin and A.A. Gordon.
  • Women and Development—A.A. Gordon.
  • Religion in Africa—A. Moyo.
  • African Literature—G. Joseph.
  • Trends and Prospects—the Editors.
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