Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present (New Approaches by Frederick Cooper

By Frederick Cooper

Frederick Cooper's most modern booklet at the background of decolonization and independence in Africa is helping scholars comprehend the historic procedure from which Africa's present place on this planet has emerged. Bridging the divide among colonial and post-colonial historical past, it indicates what political independence did and didn't characterize and the way women and men, peasants and staff, non secular leaders and native leaders sought to refashion the way in which they lived, labored, and interacted with one another.

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Particularly in the first half of the 1980s, decolonizing discourse was associated with quite an extreme ideology. Irish was literally seen as a weapon in the arsenal available to fight the British. A well-known statement demonstrates this position. ' In the course of its development, decolonizing discourse seems to have been somewhat moderated. It would be relatively unusual, for example, to hear someone make such a statement today. While the most extreme versions of this discourse may be in retreat, the belief that the Irish language has an important political role and significance is still widespread, and this discourse is still fairly widely drawn upon.

Many Gaeilgeoirf are aware of a process of cultural change taking place, and few, if any, would argue that there is total continuity with the past. For example, an important issue of debate revolves around perceived changes in the language which are occurring in the main because of the degree of contact between Irish and English. 1 7 Mostly consisting of alterations and mistakes in grammar and syntax, these changes are generally seen as a negative development, although most agree that they are probably inevitable.

In addition to the armed struggle and electoral politics, another aspect of the struggle as defined by Sinn Fein is cultural, as evidenced by the establishment of the Sinn Fein Cultural Department at the beginning of the 1980s. From its foundation, an important part of the work of the Cultural Department has had to do with the Irish language. Irish gained a very high profile during the hunger strike in 1981, partly because the first man to die, Bobby Sands, was an Irish speaker, and partly due to the increasingly widespread use of the Irish language to communicate among Republican prisoners in Long Kesh.

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