DiA’s Nic Cheeseman went on the BBC’s News Day programme to talk about his new book Authoritarian Africa. But the interview quickly evolved into a passionate debate about whether the continent would be better off governed by authoritarian or democratic systems.
Hear Professor Cheeseman’s defence of democracy – where he starts by defining authoritarianism and ends by arguing that the continent would not be better off under “strong men” – here.
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About the book
For more than seventy years, authoritarian rule was the dominant form of government in sub-Saharan Africa. Three-quarters of African states have experienced some form of one-party or military rule since 1945. Accessible and engaging, Authoritarian Africa: Repression, Resistance, and the Power of Ideas is the first book to examine this subject from a historical perspective. Exploring the history and legacy of authoritarianism in Africa–from the colonial era until the onset of democracy in the early 1990s–it introduces students to the variety of authoritarian regimes that have existed on the continent, including one-party states, military rule, and personal dictatorships.
This unique text also provides essential new insights, revising the traditional “story” of African authoritarianism by drawing on primary source materials (from songs to statistics) to provide a fresh, original perspective. Looking at what sustained authoritarian rule in Africa over more than a century, the authors consider the phenomenon on its own terms–not simply as a way station on the road to democracy–and in the context of the continent’s social, political, intellectual, and economic history.
“This is an accessible, engaging take on the history of authoritarianism in Africa that features very unique source material and useful explanations of key political concepts.” –Corrie Decker, University of California, Davis
“Authoritarian Africa packs a strong punch in its coverage of modern African states. The primary sources are well-chosen and thought-provoking. It will make a good starting point for instructors to build lectures, discussions, and assignments.”–Amanda Lewis-Nang’ea, SUNY-Geneseo
“Authoritarian Africa avoids easy answers to complex problems, and leaves readers with a useful conceptual framework to pursue a further understanding of Africa’s history and politics. It is an immediately useful and timely resource for a variety of history and political science courses, and will offer an ideal starting point for student discussions and original research papers.”–Jesse Bucher, Roanoke College