Oxford releases Dictionary of African Politics
London, March 16, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Every country has its own political language. These terms and phrases that have developed over time give distinctive meanings that may not be fully understood by outsiders. Unless we learn them, we may miss critical information about how politics really works.
African politics being one of the world’s interest areas, Oxford Dictionary has released the Dictionary of African Politics that provides a rich data of African politics.
Put together by two doctoral candidates and Professor Nic Cheeseman from the University of Birmingham, the new dictionary gives detailed overviews of selected political personalities, events and occasions in African politics, explains theoretical terms specific to Africa and several countries in the continent and also provides information on Africa’s contribution to global and modern politics.
Speaking with The Conversation, the team explains that it put together the long overdue Dictionary by the simple use of social media and crowdsourcing information through suggestions for the most relevant and insightful terms.
The dictionary according to the authors serves three key purposes. First, it provides clear and concise overviews of hundreds of key personalities, events and institutions from the colonial period to the present day. These range from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to former South African leader Jacob Zuma, through the late Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathaai, and Aja Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, a leading gender activist and the vice president of Gambia.
Second, it explains a rich set of theoretical terms that emerged out of the research on Africa over the last 70 years. These include neo-patrimonialism and extraversion, which have become important for global debates about power and the way it’s exercised.
Third – and much more significantly – it allows for a better understanding of the contributions that the continent has made to the practice and understanding of everyday politics. It also makes it possible to share the perceptive and shrewd ways that people speak truth to power in various countries: this is the real reason that the world needs a new dictionary of African politics.
The dictionary is also about much more than that. It includes one of the most thorough timelines of African political events ever compiled, with direct links to entries that put critical events into context.