As an artifact of imperial culture, Africanist anthropology is historically associated with the colonization of Africa in ways that undermine the subdiscipline's claims of neutrality and objectivity. A critical literature on the ideological and discursive inventions of Africa by the West challenges the very possibility of Africanist anthropology, to which a variety of responses have emerged. These range from historical reexaminations of imperial discourses, colonial interactions, and fieldwork in Africa, including dialogical engagements with the very production of ethnographic texts, to a more dialectical anthropology of colonial spectacle and culture as it was coproduced and reciprocally determined in imperial centers and peripheries. Understood philologically, as an imperial palimpsest in ethnographic writing, the colonial legacy in Africanist ethnography can never be negated, but must be acknowledged under the sign of its erasure.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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