The Akan Diaspora in the Americas

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Oxford University Press, May 12, 2010 - History - 324 pages
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In his groundbreaking study of the Akan diaspora, Konadu demonstrates how this cultural group originating in West Africa both engaged in and went beyond the familiar diasporic themes of maroonage, resistance, and freedom. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Akan never formed a majority among other Africans in the Americas. But their leadership skills in war and political organization, efficacy in medicinal plant use and spiritual practice, and culture archived in the musical traditions, language, and patterns of African diasporic life far outweighed their sheer numbers. Konadu argues that a composite Akan culture calibrated between the Gold Coast and forest fringe made the contributions of the Akan diaspora possible. The book examines the Akan experience in Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, former Danish and Dutch colonies, and North America, and how those early experiences foreground the modern engagement and movement of diasporic Africans and Akan people between Ghana and North America. Locating the Akan variable in the African diasporic equation allows scholars and students of the Americas to better understand how the diasporic quilt came to be and is still evolving.

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Akan Cultural Development to the Sixteenth Century
3 History and Meaning in Akan Societies 15001800
The Akan in Danish and Dutch America
The Akan in the British Caribbean
The Akan Diaspora in North America
Akan Spiritual Praxis and the Claims of Cultural Identity

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About the author (2010)

Kwasi Konadu is assistant professor of history at the Center for Ethnic Studies, City University of New York. He specializes in African, Akan, and African diasporic history.

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