“Our Own Way in the Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, Nation”
Kwasi Konadu will discuss his newest book, Our Own Way in the Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, Nation, described below:
Kofi Dɔnkɔ (1913–1995) was a blacksmith and farmer, as well as an important healer, intellectual, spiritual leader, settler of disputes, and custodian of shared values for his Ghanaian community. In Our Own Way in This Part of the World Kwasi Konadu centers Dɔnkɔ’s life story and experiences in a communography of Dɔnkɔ’s community and nation from the late nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth, which were shaped by historical forces from colonial Ghana’s cocoa boom to decolonization and political and religious parochialism. Although Dɔnkɔ touched the lives of thousands of citizens and patients, neither he nor they appear in national or international archives covering the region. Yet, his memory persists in his intellectual and healing legacy and the story of his community offers a non-national, decolonized example of social organization structured around spiritual forces that serves as a powerful reminder of the importance for scholars to take their cues from the lived experiences and ideas of the people they study.
“Kwasi Konadu has written an important book for understanding social change at the local level in Ghana. His emphasis on spirituality, healing, and education among the Bono people is a model for people-centered histories of African societies.” — Benjamin Talton, author of Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality
“Kwasi Konadu grounds the transformations in West African societies in ways that allow Kofi Dɔnkɔ to serve as a counterpoint to mainstream representations that take the perspective of Christianized, modernizing individuals on the coast. Dɔnkɔ was an everyday person in some ways, and exceptional in others, making his life a productive window through which to understand culture, experience, and worldview. This is an innovative and outstanding book.” — Trevor R. Getz, author of A Primer for Teaching African History: Ten Design Principles
Kwasi is am the father of three beautiful and very intelligent daughters, a truly grateful husband who is married to an equally beautiful and intelligent wife and life partner, a scholar specializing in the histories of Africa and its worldwide communities, a healer who studied with his grandfather in Jamaica and then a family of exceptional healers in Takyiman (central Ghana), and a publisher of scholarly books about African world histories and cultures through the Diasporic Africa Press, Inc.
He was born on the island of Jamaica. He traces his ancestry through his mother’s family, which includes a maternal grandfather and a great-great-grandmother who were healers, hailing from the Maroon community of Accompong. Her (grand)mother came to the island from the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). This (grand)mother was named Adwoa Konadu. He began collecting these stories for a family history project, which he began as a 19 year old undergraduate majoring in history and education. He, then, also began his life’s work on the history of Africa and its worldwide communities.
He teaches at Colgate University, where he is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Endowed Chair and Professor of Africana Studies. He offers courses in African history and on worldwide African histories and cultures. With extensive archival and field research in West Africa, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean basin, and North America, his writings focus on African and African diasporic histories, as well as some major themes in world history. Visit Kwasi’s website here.