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Abstract

Even in the postcolonial era, West African history remains plagued by Eurocentric myths and media-driven stereotypes. Though specialists have been struggling with this problem for decades, a rift remains between the elite world of academia and the African history being taught in American schools. In an attempt to bridge this gap, this essay provides a case study and a list of suggested resources designed to help nonspecialist world history teachers rethink European colonial power and its impact on our conception of African history. Through its examination of how West African responses to imperialism interacted with, adapted to, and were ultimately conditioned by European power structures, this essay touches on a range of topics, including pre-colonial African history; the partition of Africa; decolonization; linkages between slavery, colonial labor coercion, and the spread of capitalism; and the continuing impact of colonial rule on present-day conflict in the postcolonial African states.

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