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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Since its establishment in 1959, UCLA's James S. Coleman African Studies Center (ASC) has been dedicated to teaching, research, and public understanding related to Africa. ASC is recognized as one of the preeminent institutions of its kind worldwide and has held major funding from the U.S. Department of Education since 1959. ASC is currently the only Title VI National Resource Center west of the Mississippi. Its educational mission is especially vital in this age when the world's peoples are coming closer and closer together while at the same time they are at risk of growing further and further apart.

ASC's online publications are devoted to addressing the challenges of preparing the next generation of global citizens. Well-informed global citizens need to learn about and come to appreciate the non-Western world and be exposed to academic content that deals with non-Western societies. UCLA provides an ideal resource to further this agenda. ASC is known for interdisciplinary innovation and assists students interested in Africa in understanding the vital connections among social welfare and the arts; environmental studies and international politics; African religions (Islam, Christianity, and traditional faiths) and urban development.

Cover page of Generational Shifts in African Politics: Prospects for a New Africa

Generational Shifts in African Politics: Prospects for a New Africa


The past haunts Africa. Futuristic policies on Africa are based on critical assessments of present possibilities rooted in Africa’s rather unique and rich history and geography. Therefore, Africa appears to be a continent with a past but not a future. As the 21st century and the third millennium loom on the horizon, it is an auspicious time for a fresh examination of the past, present and future prospects of the human condition in Africa against the background of relevant positive and negative international developments. A fresh understanding is needed of what is happening in Africa today and what it will mean not only for the continent but also for the rest of the world in the next century and beyond. The quest for that understanding defines the context of this essay’s focus on the social history of four generations of Africans and how the latest among them is poised to socially reconstruct a new Africa with far reaching implications on community and national life in Africa and on international politics in the next century and beyond.

Cover page of The Currency Revolution in Southern Nigeria 1880-1948

The Currency Revolution in Southern Nigeria 1880-1948


This paper argues that between 1881 and 1948, the British Colonial Government consciously and systematically debauched the pre-existing currencies of Southern Nigeria, replacing them with British currency without fair provision for compensating the African population for their losses. The impact of these measures was to impoverish many a "British protected Person" in Southern Nigeria. The manner in which this currency revolution was accomplished, and with what results, is the subject of this paper.

Cover page of Nigerian Population and Urbanization, 1911-1974: A Bibliography

Nigerian Population and Urbanization, 1911-1974: A Bibliography


The study of demography and urbanization has attracted a lot of attention in the last decade. This bibliography is a serious effort to make available to the researcher, the teacher, the student and the general reader the variety of publications that exist in these fields with particular reference to Nigeria from 1911 to 1974. It is a contribution and a response to the ever increasing demand for the study of the demography and urbanization of Nigeria. This bibliography is timely and will be a tool of tremendous value in the hands of scholars and research centers, especially in view of the publication of the World Population Plan of Action by the United Nations.

Cover page of African Field Research and Methodology in Geography

African Field Research and Methodology in Geography


This essay deals with several themes and sub-themes that were very significant and pertinent in the discussion of field research and methodology in the study of the geography of Africa in the 1970s. Professor Thomas raises the questions of the apparent paucity of theoretical conceptualizations in geography and the goals of the study of geography. Geography is like all the other social sciences that have already begun to employ an interdisciplinary methodological approach. Very interesting indeed is the discussion of the nature of and the variations in field data. These, of course, are concomitant with the types of study undertaken by the researcher.

Cover page of Safeguarding African Customary Law: Judicial and Legislative Processes for its Adaptation and Integration (1968)

Safeguarding African Customary Law: Judicial and Legislative Processes for its Adaptation and Integration (1968)


Published in 1968, this paper provides an introductory survey of the nature of the problem of adapting and modifying African customary law to meet the requirements and conditions of political independence, economic growth, and increased mobility in Africa. It is particularly valuable because it examines and compares such efforts in both Anglophonic and Francophone Africa.

Cover page of Fundamental Rights Under the Nigerian Constitution, 1960-1965

Fundamental Rights Under the Nigerian Constitution, 1960-1965


This paper, prepared for presentation at a Seminar on Constitutional Problems of Federalism in Nigeria, admirably expresses his interests in constitutional law, raises fundamental questions of human rights. If liberty lies in the hearts of men and women, what is the role of constitutions, laws and courts? How can they sustain liberty, giving it reality and dimension in organized society? Should fundamental rights be incorporated into a constitution as explicitly stated ideals or as general principles, susceptible of adaptation and growth through the creative use of judicial review? And what should be the relationship between the courts and the legislature, so that the courts may protect human rights, without usurping legislative functions?

In the process of answering these questions, Professor Proehl relates constitutional statements of rights to the structure of power in the society, differentiating between decentralized agrarian societies, and urbanized, technologically developed societies with centralized structures of power. He analyzes theories of judicial review in the United States, as a basis for the examination of decided cases in Nigeria, involving constitutional interpretation. Developing a comparative approach to these problems, he is concerned throughout with the role of law, as a great creative force in building a just society; and he concludes that law can be effective if it rests on the peoples' tenacious and uncompromising insistence on fundamental rights and if the judiciary assists the people to an understanding of the full meaning and importance of human rights.