About the Repository
Mapping the pasts and futures of law and society scholarship in Africa
African scholars, mostly in the diaspora, represent fewer than 2% of authors ever published in leading socio-legal journals. No more than 3% of articles written in these journals since 1964 even touch on Africa as a topic. And many “international” and “global” writing projects have little or no representation from Africa. What is striking is not only the paucity of scholarship on and from Africa, but also its narrowness, reflecting very little of the law-in-everyday-life or everyday-practice-of-law research that grounds our understanding of the relationship between law and society and theory-building on legal institutions, professions, and practices. But the absence of African law and society scholarship in leading international journals does not mean the absence of African scholarship at the intersection of law and other social sciences – whether historically or in the contemporary moment. Yet equally there is no single text focused on law and society on Africa from Africa and what scholarship there is may be difficult to access. This Repository on African Law and Society forms part of an international research collaboration that aims to address the gap in African law and society scholarship, while at the same time paying close attention to the pluralities of historiographies and imaginings of law and society scholarship in and on Africa.
We aim to pursue three overlapping interventions into the existing state of African law & society scholarship.
- Handbook on Law and Society in Africa: The Pasts and Futures of Law and Society in Africa –a scholarly volume linking pasts, present and futures, centered on African debates and drawn from African scholarship. This volume will engage expansively with the relationship(s) between law and society on the continent.
- Critical Reader(s) on Law and Society in/from Africa – intended to facilitate the teaching of African law and society – our Reader(s) will offer a critical linking together of African scholarship, in which the text of that scholarship dominates. Student-focused, it does the same linking work as the Handbook, but does so through a structured selection and reading of already-extant key texts.
- Repository on African Law and Society – provides an accessible thematically-organised online repository of African research and teaching materials. This includes historical books and journals that are out of print and/or copyright, grey materials and research reports, bibliographies and links to contemporary scholarship. The Repository draws from and informs the materials reflected in the Reader(s) and Handbook.