For many Americans the mention of Africa immediately conjures up images of safaris, ferocious animals, strangely dressed "tribesmen," and impenetrable jungles.

Although the occasional newspaper headline mentions authoritarian rule, corruption, genocide, devastating illnesses, or civil war in Africa, the collective American consciousness still carries strong mental images of Africa that are reflected in advertising, movies, amusement parks, cartoons, and many other corners of society. Few think to question these perceptions or how they came to be so deeply lodged in American minds. Mistaking Africa looks at the historical evolution of this mind-set and examines the role that popular media plays in its creation. The authors address the most prevalent myths and preconceptions and demonstrate how these prevent a true understanding of the enormously diverse peoples and cultures of Africa.Updated throughout, the fourth edition covers the entire continent (North and sub-Saharan Africa) and provides new analysis of topics such as social media and the Internet, the Ebola crisis, celebrity aid, and the Arab Spring. Mistaking Africa is an important book for African studies courses and for anyone interested in unravelling American misperceptions about the continent.

part 1|32 pages


chapter 1|10 pages

Changing Our Mind About Africa

chapter 2|20 pages

How We Learn

part 2|66 pages


chapter 3|16 pages

The Origins of “Darkest Africa”

chapter 4|11 pages

“Our Living Ancestors”

Evolutionism and Race Across the Centuries

chapter 5|14 pages

Where is the Real Africa?

chapter 6|22 pages

We Should Help Them 1

part 3|54 pages

Further Misperceptions

chapter 7|7 pages


No Accounting for Taste

chapter 8|14 pages

Africans Live in Tribes, Don’t They?

chapter 9|11 pages


Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

chapter 10|18 pages

Africa in Images

part 4|20 pages

New Directions: From Race to Culture

chapter 11|9 pages

Changing Views

chapter 12|8 pages

From Imagination to Dialogue