Hugh Trevor-Roper on Africa

From the Wikipedia page for the late Oxford historian Hugh Trevor-Roper:

Another aspect of Trevor-Roper’s outlook on history and on scholarly research that has inspired controversy, is his claim about the historical experiences of pre-literate societies. In accordance with Hegel he remarked that Africa had no history prior to European exploration and colonisation. [Trevor-Roper] said “there is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness”, its past “the unedifying gyrations of barbarous tribes in picturesque but irrelevant corners of the globe.” These comments, recapitulated in a later article which called Africa “unhistoric”, spurred intense debate between historians, anthropologists, sociologists, in the emerging fields of postcolonial and cultural studies about the definition of “history”. The controversy dwells on what must be present for a society to have a “history”, Trevor-Roper arguing that it required documentary evidence.

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