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A B S T R A C T : This article considers the marginalization of precolonial history from mainstream Africanist scholarship in recent decades, and argues that this can be understood in the context of a scholarly culture that attributes an exaggerated significance to the history of the twentieth century. The article highlights some of the work that continues to be done on Africa's deeper past, with a view to demonstrating the enormous value of such research in elucidating present-day issues. Itdoi:10.1017/s0021853711000223 fatcat:yjp6xqra7bftfpw4pxvjcelon4