The difficulties of exploring African history, especially for earlier periods, have spurred the development of a wide range of methodologies and approaches, such that Wyatt McGaffey once ...
The difficulties of exploring African history, especially for earlier periods, have spurred the development of a wide range of methodologies and approaches, such that Wyatt McGaffey once termed it “the decathlon of the social sciences.” Historians have long utilized archaeology, ethnography, historical linguistics, and oral traditions, but are only beginning to explore the possibilities of genetics or many of the new techniques used by archaeology and other sciences. And as digital sources—from historical documents and statistics to cartographic, climatic, demographic, and environmental modeling—proliferate, so do the problems in using them. The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources discusses these sources and methods, and examines how these developments have influenced the scholarship that historians produce. Such methods continue to evolve, demanding that historians develop basic understandings of them. Thus, the Encyclopedia builds a theoretical foundation for the field, expanding the ways that Africa can be studied, and recovering the histories of the continent that often appear outside of the documentary record.