What Africa Might Contribute to Critical Toponymy

Michel Ben Arrous, Liora Bigon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Multi-toponymy suggests other logics than official toponymy alone. It reflects political imaginations that draw from different levels of historical depth, the activation of a memory of conflicts and slavery, games of alliances between the state and networks of brotherhoods. Africa and the Disciplines was well received in the United States and Europe, where it is still required reading in several African studies departments. Multiple naming systems coexist, designating the same places differently or giving names to others which the official toponymy ignores. The power to name begins, however, upstream, with the identification of what makes a place. In Africa, its hegemony seems complete among the intellectual and political elites. Contrary to the common Africanist perspective, which interprets its objects according to pre-established theoretical models, the authors have proposed a heuristic reversal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Place Naming
Subtitle of host publicationNaming the World
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9781394188307
ISBN (Print)9781789451153
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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