chapter  eight
22 Pages

Anthropology in a Postcolonial Africa

The Survival Debate
WithPaul Nchoji Nkwi

This chapter examines the ways in which African anthropologists have developed knowledge within a particular set of state needs and within a particular set of power relations. It begins with an overview of the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa and then offers a history of the Pan African Association of Anthropologists (PAAA). The development of Africanist anthropology in France was largely the work of two key government-sponsored institutes: the Institut Français pour l’Afrique Noire (IFAN) and the Organisation de Recherche Scientifique et Technique d’Outre Mer. IFAN was established principally to document, for comparative purposes, the customs and traditions of African “ethnic nations.” Through its slow and deliberate infiltration of policy making, anthropology has come to be recognized in the intellectual circles of Cameroon. The formation of the PAAA was one of a series of events in the late 1980s and early 1990s that helped integrate anthropology into the discourse of development in Africa.