Race politics in Ghana

Jemima Pierre, professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, has written an ambitious book in The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (University of Chicago Press 2012). She engages Ghanaian and African diasporan constructions, perceptions, and performances of Blackness and Whiteness in contemporary Ghana. By doing so, she brings anthropology into an ongoing conversation on race within African studies dominated largely by historians and South Africanists from a variety of specializations. The book, she says in her preface, is an “ethnography of racialization that insists on shifting the ways we think about Africa and the history of modern identity” (xv). She argues that the process of racialization within the framework of global white supremacy links continental Africans and people of African descent in the diaspora. Race matters, to Pierre, and she culls ethnographic material from her two decades of research in Ghana that belies its irrelevance in every day urban Ghana.  Continue reading