This blog does not tend to cover African history, but today we are pleased to make an exception.
We are delighted to announce the appearance of Vincent Hiribarren‘s doctoral monograph, A History of Borno. Trans-Saharan African Empire to Failing Nigerian State (London: Hurst, 2017).
As the commentary and reviews on the publisher’s website explain, this ‘hugely significant, superbly written, and profoundly interesting’ book charts the nineteenth and twentieth-century history ‘of an ancient Sahelian kingdom whose hinterland is now being laid waste by the Boko Haram insurgency’. Tracing its history back even beyond the foundation of the Bornu Empire (lasted 1380-1893), Borno has had remarkably stable borders and a clearly defined social and political identity, that as the publishers’ reviewers note, ‘calls into question received notions on the nature and sources of political power in Africa, in the past and present,’ and play an important role ‘in the framing of the narratives of Boko Haram’s contemporary jihad.’
The book, of course, also evidences Vincent’s passion for maps and mapping, traits which proved invaluable to his work on the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project, too. As followers of this blog will know, Vincent was a technologist and GIS mapper for FBTEE from 2009 to 2012. His work on final editing of the database, our online and downloadable maps and visualizations, and the transfer of the database to Western Sydney in many ways kept the project alive through a difficult transition. In 2013-14 he helped to conceptualize and prepare the next stage of the project, work which contributed to the collaborative article ‘Mapping Print, Connecting Cultures‘. He was a named Research Associate on the FBTEE project’s ARC applications in 2014 and 2015, but before he could take up a position on the ‘Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment‘ project, he was appointed to a Lectureship in Modern African History at Kings College, London.
So congratulations, Vincent, on the appearance of this important monograph. We hope it is the first of many.