In Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa
(Duke University Press, 2014), Christopher J. Lee
recovers the forgotten experiences of multiracial peoples in the British colonies of Nyasaland, Southern and Northern Rhodesia. By carefully reading fragmented correspondence, colonial reports, periodicals and oral testimonies, the author traces the development of Anglo-African, Euro-African and Eurafrican identities that complicated colonial concepts of native and non-native. In light of their ambiguous status, multiracial individuals were generally marginalized and lived in a legal limbo. This led them to redefine kinship ties and political allegiances with the goal of improving their economic and social prospects. Ultimately, the book questions the analytical categories inherited both from colonial and nationalist historiographies and argues that they obscure the social, cultural and intellectual diversity that informs what it means to be African.
Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia is Associate Professor of History at Montclair State University. She specializes in modern intellectual history of Africa, historiography, World history and Philosophy of History. She is the co-author of
African Histories: New Sources and New Techniques for Studying African Pasts (Pearson, 2011).