Open Access

A Note from the Editors

Victoria Ellen Smith and Nana Yaw Boampong Sapong

The 26th volume of Ghana Studies marks our first attempt as caretakers, to continue the good work done by previous editors. We are grateful for the anonymous peer reviewers, who went beyond their daily responsibilities to make time to share their expertise with us. We also thank Chloe Lauer, Toni Gunnison, and David Bulgerin of the University of Wisconsin Press for their support throughout the year. This Ghana Studies volume includes eight research articles, a review essay, and two book reviews. The articles are grouped under thematic headings “Colonial Encounters,” “Women and Silences,” “Living with Animals,” and “On Aging.”

The subsection “Colonial Encounters” begins the conversation with the ubiquitous subject of colonial development, exploring it through two of the most enduring pillars of colonization, namely the church and traditional authority. Kachim’s article posits that despite early tensions between the colonial state and church in the Northern Territories, the 1940s paradoxically witnessed a mutual convergence of aims for both church and state in Konkomba. Here, the Assemblies of God Mission partnered with the colonial government to provide healthcare for the people. Manu-Osafo’s piece on the other hand looks at the vital role of traditional authority at both the individual and institutional levels to initiate, encourage and sponsor formal education in Asante. This piece upends the usual narrative of church or state-inspired education by highlighting the role of chiefs as motivators of formal education in colonial Asante.

Stepping away from the Victorian world of machismo and the making of a new colonial world order, the subsection “Women and Silences” contains three articles which explore the complex question of agency, not only in male-dominated narratives but also within women-centered narratives in the online marketplace. Anyidoho and Darkwah study how different categories of women access opportunities in the digital marketplace. They give a nuanced account in which social location is an important factor in determining challenges, opportunities, and benefits. On the other hand, Amoah-Boampong revisits male-dominated narratives of the Tabon world by teasing out gendered silences against a backdrop of colonial urbanization and material expansion. Anderson et al. complete this subsection with a piece that studies the masculine-dominated world of student activism in post-independence Ghana. They argue for an all-inclusive narrative where women take their place in watershed moments.

In the subsection “Living with Animals,” Roberts’ work innovatively broaches the subjects of the exercise of state power to control space and wildlife, and the commodification of nature. The Mole National Park and its environs provide the background to Roberts’ “layered and textured perspective on the relationship between elephants and humans.” This negotiated relationship over time has synthesized into a nuanced, mixed environmental aesthetics. Arhine et al. amplify the human–animal subplot in Robert’s work by centering it in their analysis of highlife legend Nana Ampadu’s sung-tale metaphor in Obiara Ne Ne Suban. Here, the focus is on the Akan use of animal characteristics and qualities to embody human behavior. Ultimately, the subtext in the two articles under “Living with Animals” is an awareness of the constant confrontation, negotiation, and adaptation between humans, fauna, flora, and the environment.

There is no cure for aging, except to gracefully manage it. In September 2022, the Centre for Aging Studies at the University of Ghana held a training workshop for caregivers of older persons. At the heart of discussions was how to assist the aged to accept their vulnerability, to maintain functional ability and financial independence. Under “On Aging,” Kwabena-Adade’s article revisits the vulnerabilities of aging, by highlighting some of these factors. A dominant inhibitor to caring for the aged in Ghana is a denial of the breakdown of traditional forms of caregiving for the aged, and the introduction and necessity of nursing homes—a place that evokes a sense of abandonment.

Moving on from the uncertainties of aging to the sure-footedness of history, Larry Yarak, the journal’s founding editor, provides a thoughtful reflection on McCaskie’s edited volume ‘History of Ashanti,’ by Otumfuo, Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II.

Finally, this 26th volume ends with two book reviews by Hermann von Hesse and Fauziyatu Moro.

We hope readers find this ensemble thought-provoking and beneficial. Happy reading!

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