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Global Studies Department Chair publishes two books in one year

October 29, 2020

Raphael Njoku, chair of the Department of Global Studies and Languages and faculty in the department of History, has authored two books published in 2020.

Njoku has written and co-edited 11 books, including this year’s additions: “West African Masking Traditions and Diaspora Masquerade Carnivals: History, Memory, and Transnationalism” and “United States and African Relations, 1400s to the Present.”

“I would like to thank my colleagues in the Department of History and the Department of Global Studies and Languages for all their strong support in writing these books,” he said. “Apparently, something about ISU enables critical thinking.”

“West African Masking Traditions” was published by Rochester University Press as part of the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It analyzes how enslaved Africans became culture carriers of inherited African traditions like masquerades and masking.

“United States and African Relations,” co-authored with Toyin Falola and published by Yale University Press, offers a comprehensive history of the relationship between Africa and the United States.
“The lives of Americans and people of African descent have been intertwined on the most complex sociocultural, economic and psychological levels,” Njoku said. “Understanding this dynamic and appreciating it is the route to a better America.”

The publications of both books aligned with major events this year, Njoku said, creating several interesting coincidences. “West African Masking Traditions” coincided with the public masking of the COVID-19 pandemic, and “United States and African Relations” coincided with the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
“I am not sure why the coincidences, but they make both books exciting reads,” he said.


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