This book explores the West-Central African role in, and experience during, the expansion of international society.
Building upon theoretical contributions from the English School of international relations, historical sociology and sociology, it departs from Euro-centric assumptions by analysing how West-Central Africa and West-Central Africans were integral to the ways in which Europe and Africa came together from the fifteenth century through to the twentieth. Initially, diverse scholarship concerned with the expansion of international society is examined, revealing how the process has often been understood as one dictated by Europeans. From there a new approach is developed, one which is better able to examine the expansion as an interactive process between individuals, and which puts the African experience at the heart of study. The empirical research that follows this draws upon primary sources to introduce a number of historically significant and ground-breaking cases into international relations, including; the international relations of West-Central Africa before the European arrival, the emergence and growth of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the attempts to ‘civilize’ Africa, and the ‘scramble’ to colonize Africa. This book argues that the expansion of international society was driven by individual interaction, and was shaped by both Africans and Europeans.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, international relations theory, history, African politics, the English school and constructivism.