Agriculture in Africa

  • Paul Richards
Reference work entry

According to the philosopher Hegel, Africa was the inert mass around which the history of consciousness pivoted in its journey from East to West. Even today one still encounters the view that sub‐Saharan Africa is exceptionally backward in science and technology, and has no indigenous intellectual history worth the name. Judged by the conventional standards of modernity, e.g., statistics on literacy and education, Africa does indeed seem a “backward” continent; but against this we must consider the crucial part played by the African savannas in the story of human evolution; human intellectual development was shaped by challenges set by the African environment. The legacy is still perhaps apparent in the continent's exceptional linguistic diversity and an enduring facility among its peoples for coping with severe environmental challenge. Until recently, however, African indigenous knowledge of environmental resources has failed to register in conventional histories of science and...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Paul Richards

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