by Frederick Cooper, 2002
This article....brings out the possibilities and difficulties of writing histories that neither impose a singular model of progress nor posit a kaleidoscopic world of disparate and fragmentary communities, whether fluid or rigid. It takes seriously critiques of a universality that turns out to be western, or of a
nationalism that replicates imperialist categories, but it argues that that engagement and struggle have shaped what citizenship, the nation-state, and human rights actually mean. This article does not seek to wall off an objective history from political argumentation; instead, it emphasizes the importance of historical analysis in countering other historical visions on which particular images of Africa are based.
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