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Open Access Prologue

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Chapter Summary

Decolonization has become one of the major themes in twentieth-century historiography. Within the span of three decades, most of the countries that had been colonized by European powers became independent. Discussions tend to concentrate on the causes of decolonization, particularly on the motives and policies of the European powers. This introductory chapter of the book begins with an exploration of decolonization away from conventional parameters. The authors suggest an alternative approach, beyond political narratives and western temporalities, and across the fissures in history that are so often taken for granted. In West Africa, political independence was the unforeseen result of heightened political mobilization, which was directed, first, at achieving fuller citizenship. It is this mobilization that characterized the transition from colonialism to postcolonial rule - and continued to be an issue in African politics since.

Keywords: decolonization; European powers; political mobilization; West Africa



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