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Mistaking Africa : Curiosities and Inventions of the American Mind

ISBN: 9780813343860 | 0813343860
Edition: 2nd
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Perseus Books
Pub. Date: 8/4/2008

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For many Americans the mention of Africa immediately conjures up images of safaris, ferocious animals, strangely dressed "tribesmen," and impenetrable jungles. Although the occasional newspaper headline alerts us to genocide, AIDS, malaria, or civil war in Africa, most of us know very little about the continent. However we still carry strong mental images of Africa, which are reflected in American advertising, movies, amusement parks, cartoons, and many other corners of our society.Few think to question these perceptions or how they came to be so deeply lodged in the collective American consciousness. Curtis Keim'sMistaking Africalooks at the historical evolution of this mindset and examines the role that popular media play in the creation of our mental images of Africa. Keim addresses the most prevalent myths and preconceptions and demonstrates how these prevent a true understanding of the enormously diverse peoples and cultures of Africa. Updated throughout, the second edition includes an entirely revised chapter on Africa in images, which analyzes portrayals of Africa in popular media, including print advertising by corporations such as Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, IBM,Voguemagazine, Honda, and Snapple. New to the second edition as well is an appendix on learning more about Africa.ContentsPart One: Introduction 1. Changing Our Mind about Africa 2. How We LearnPart Two: Evolutionism 3. The Origins of "Darkest Africa" 4. "Our Living Ancestors": Twentieth-Century Evolutionism 5. Real Africa, Wise Africa 6. We Should Help ThemPart Three: Further Misperceptions 7. Cannibalism: No Accounting for Taste 8. Africans Live in Tribes, Don't They? 9. Safari: Beyond Our Wildest Dreams 10. Africa in ImagesPart Four: New Directions 11. Race and Culture: The Same and the Other 12. From Imagination to DialogueAppendix: Learning More


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