Teaching Culture, Health, and Political Economy in the Field: Ground-Level Perspectives on Africa in the 21st Century

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Book Chapter

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Teaching Africa : a Guide for the 21st-Century Classroom


Early in the 21st century, Africa is more intimately connected to transnationally circulating forces of political economy than at any time in the past. Africa has been tied to such forces throughout history, of course, as both a contributor and a recipient of cultural movements, commodities, and technologies, and some Africanists rightly warn that the enticing models of "globalization" can mask such long-standing ties (Cooper 2001). The close of the 20th century saw increases in the speed and ubiquity of communications technologies, electronic transfers of capital, and movements of people both within the continent and to and from overseas destinations. Political and economic liberalization following the Cold War increased the flow of international capital into African countries, often to purchase newly privatized resources and take advantage of relaxed import and export restrictions, and it dramatically expanded the presence of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

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