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Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War Paperback – July 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nostalgia for the Future is an evocative and topical study that is clearly the product of a mature, long-term engagement with contemporary Togo, the anthropological and historical literature on the country, and the theoretical debates that have been central to anthropology over the past fifteen years." - Mariane C. Ferme, University of California, Berkeley"

About the Author

Charles Piot is professor in the departments of cultural anthropology and African and African American studies at Duke University. He is the author of Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226669653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226669656
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kara on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War, Charles Piot works to re-conceptualize the theories of globalization and postcolonialism in relation to his study and experience of Togo. Piot draws on several theorists including Agamben, Bayart, Hardt and Negri and Mbembe. This book, as Piot states in the introduction, "is about a moment in history, it is also about a mode of theorizing" (7). The time period examined here is from the end of the Cold War in 1989 to the present (2009). The majority of the text deals with the switch in the 1990s when the power of the dictator was replaced by the power of the church. It is through the church that people are able to visualize the future, the globalized. He examines Togo's shift from past which haunts the present, and how that forms new perceptions of the future. The future in many regards is seen as the global. This relationship between the global and the local is a prominent theme within this book. Piot also does an excellent job of giving examples of individuals' stories that relate and give a personal touch to the subjects discussed. Togo in this sense is characterized by hybridizations of culture and politics.

There are two major questions that Piot attempts to answer: Can Togo preserve some traditions while still moving towards the modern or is it necessary to abandon the past? And what place does Togo take in a globalized world? Piot does an in depth analysis of Togo in several areas in order to answer these questions. These areas of evaluation include: the state, the church, green card visa lottery ("fantasy of exile"), witchcraft (showing local and global tensions), and development (or rather "arrested development").
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie on April 16, 2013
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As a graduate student studying West Africa, this book was the perfect read. It illustrates the interesting juxtaposition in West Africa of modernity and tradition. I especially enjoyed Piot's history of Togo. He presented Togo's history in a truly global way that was both fun to read and extremely informative.
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