Oil on Water: A Novel, Helon Habila

In the oil-rich and environmentally devastated Nigerian Delta, the wife of a British oil executive has been kidnapped. Two journalists are sent to find her. In a story rich with atmosphere and taut with suspense, Helon Habila explores the conflict between idealism and cynical disillusionment in a journey full of danger and unintended consequences.

Aké: The Years of Childhood, Wole Soyinka

The story of Wole Soyinka's boyhood before and during World War II in a Yoruba village in western Nigeria called Aké. The Nobel Prize Literature laureate grew up on a parsonage compound, raised by Christian parents and by a grandfather who introduced him to Yoruba spiritual traditions. Published in 1989, a classic of African autobiography.

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

A classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior in the late 1800s, it explores one man's resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political forces.

Everything Good Will Come, Sefi Atta

Set in 1971, a year after the Biafran War, this novel charts the fate of two African girls: one who is prepared to manipulate the traditional system and one who attempts to defy it. Written in the voice of Enitan, the novel traces this unusual friendship into their adult lives, against the backdrop of tragedy, family strife, and a war-torn Nigeria.

The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon

First published in 1961, a masterful and timeless interrogation of race, colonialism, psychological trauma, and revolutionary struggle. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in spurring historical change, the book incisively attacks the perils of post-independence colonial politics.

Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon

Originally published in 1952, Frantz Fanon's seminal text was immediately acclaimed as a classic of black liberationalist writing. Fanon identifies a devastating pathology at the heart of Western culture, a denial of difference, that persists to this day. His writings speak to all who continue the struggle for political and cultural liberation.

L'an V de la révolution algérienne, Frantz Fanon

A classic of decolonisation work, topical for understanding the springs of the emancipation movement which led to the Algerian war of independence. Born from the experience accumulated in the heart of the fight, within the FLN, it was also the first systematic analysis of the transformation that was then taking place within the Algerian revolution.

Alienation and Freedom, Frantz Fanon

A collection of unpublished works comprising around half of Fanon's entire output – which were previously inaccessible or thought to be lost. These writings provide new depth and complexity to the understanding of the author's entire oeuvre revealing more of his powerful thinking about identity, race and activism which remain remarkably prescient.

Necropolitics, Achille Mbembe

In Necropolitics Achille Mbembe, a leader in the new wave of francophone critical theory, theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world, a world plagued by ever-increasing inequality, militarization, enmity, and terror as well as by a resurgence of racist, fascist, and nationalist forces determined to exclude and kill.

Critique of Black Reason, Achille Mbembe

A capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world's center of gravity while mapping the relations among colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital.

Petrolio, Pier Paolo Pasolini

Found unfinished in Pasolini's desk shortly after his murder, in 1975, a novel in which the author explores the psychological workings of fascism in postwar Italy through a character: Carlo, a left-wing Italian Catholic working for the state-controlled oil company, who becomes obsessed with satisfying his perverse, insatiable sexual passions.

The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind, Judith Butler

Butler draws upon Foucault, Fanon, Freud, and Benjamin to consider how the interdiction against violence fails to include lives regarded as ungrievable. By considering how “racial phantasms” inform justifications of state and administrative violence, Butler tracks how violence is often attributed to those who are most severely exposed to its lethal effects.

The Political Economy of Growth, Paul A. Baran

Concerned with the generation and use of economic surplus, Baran analyzes from this point of view both the advanced and the underdeveloped countries. A work in political economy rather than solely in economics, this book, first published in 1957, treats the economic transformation of society as one facet of a total social and political evolution.

Discourse on Colonialism, Aimé Césaire

First published in 1955, an eloquent description of the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress" and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or "primitive".

Les armes miraculeuses, Aimé Césaire

A collection of poems published in 1946 by Gallimard, including most of the poems published by Aimé Césaire over the years in Tropiques, a quarterly literary magazine published in Martinique from 1941 to 1945.

Cahier d'un retour au pays natal, Aimé Césaire

The inaugural work of the Martinique poet Aimé Césaire, an autobiographical poem that became an anthem for the African diaspora and the birth of the Negritude movement. "We shall speak. We shall sing. We shall shout", wrote Césaire in 1939, who considered this work a "break into the forbidden".

The Palm-Wine Drinkard, Amos Tutuola

When Amos Tutuola's first novel, The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, appeared in 1952, it aroused exceptional worldwide interest. Drawing on the West African Yoruba oral folktale tradition, Tutuola described the odyssey of a devoted palm-wine drinker through a nightmare of fantastic adventure.

The Specter of Capital, Joseph Vogl

An interdisciplinary analysis of the global financial crisis, in which Joseph Vogl aims to demystify finance capitalism - with its bewildering array of new instruments - by tracing the historical stages through which the financial market achieved its current autonomy.

In Search of Africa(s): Universalism and Decolonial Thought

Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Jean-Loup Amselle examine a series of issues central to the question of the postcolonial. Is the postcolonial the first phase of a new universalism, one which would be truly universal because it would be fully inclusive, or is it on the contrary the denial of all universalism, the triumph of the particular and of fragmentation?

Provincializing Europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty

In Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Chakrabarty addresses the mythical figure of Europe that is often taken to be the original site of modernity in many histories of capitalist transition in non-Western countries. This imaginary Europe, the author argues, is built into the social sciences.

Natural Resources: When Blessings Become Curses, World Bank

Since at least the time of Adam Smith and David Ricardo there has been a belief that natural resources are a blessing: that countries richly endowed with natural resources have an advantage over countries that are not. Since the end of World War II, however, evidence has accumulated that natural resources are less often a blessing than a curse.

Small Arms, Armed Violence, and Insecurity in Nigeria

A report by Jennifer M. Hazen with Jonas Horne based on field research that was carried out by the Small Arms Survey and its Nigerian partners from 2006 to 2007 shares the findings and the trends identified in terms of small arms proliferation, growing insecurity, and the important role of armed groups in security and politics in the Niger Delta.

The Dilemma of Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta

Many decades of exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources have adversely affected the host communities in the Niger Delta. Environmental degradation, loss of means of livelihood, unemployment, poverty, loss of lives and general underdevelopment characterized the region. By Ogege Samuel Omadjohwoef.

A History of Nigeria, Toyin Falola and Matthew M. Heaton

By examining key themes such as colonialism, religion, slavery, nationalism and the economy, the authors show how Nigeria's history has been swayed by the vicissitudes of the world around it, and how Nigerians have adapted to meet these challenges. A unique portrayal of a resilient people living in a country with immense, but unrealized, potential.

"Liberation Movements" and Rising Violence in the Niger Delta

The contest for the "soul" of oil and its revenues in Nigeria have thrown up several actors representing diverse interests, most notably the stale, oil multinationals and oil-hearing communities. This paper by J. Shola Omotola is primarily concerned with what it called the new contentious site of oil and environmental polities in the Niger Delta.

Sustaining Development in Mineral Economies, Richard Auty

It is widely believed that natural mineral resources are desirable. However there is growing evidence that this may not always be the case. Indeed, it seems that natural assets can distort the economy to such a degree that the benefit actually becomes a curse. Auty highlights these drawbacks and the devastating effect they can have on developing economies.

Oil-dependence and Civil conflict in Nigeria, Aderoju Oyefusi

An analysis on the oil-dependence and civil conflict in Nigeria focusing on the economic dynamics of resource-induced conflicts. It identifies two dimensions to oil-related civil conflict in the country: the violent rent-seeking political violence that oil-availability generates between the various ethno-regional groups; and the Niger Delta crisis.

Silent Violence, Michael J. Watts

Why do famines occur and how have their effects changed through time? Why are those who produce food so often the casualties of famines? Looking at the food crisis that struck the West African Sahel in the 70s, Silent Violence - Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria, Watts examines the relationships between famine, climate, and political economy.

Subterranean Estates, Hannah Appel, Arthur Mason and Michael Watts

A critical topography of the hydrocarbon industry, understood not solely as an assemblage of corporate forms but rather as an expansive and porous network of laborers and technologies, representation and expertise, and the ways of life oil and gas produce at points of extraction, production, marketing, consumption, and combustion.

Crude oil exploration in Africa, Adedapo O. Adeola, Odunayo T. Ore

Most host communities of crude oil deposits suffer from a lack of infrastructure, arable soils, clean water, and their functioning capabilities are violated by crude oil exploratory activities, without adequate compensations and remedial actions taken by oil companies and the government. An insight into the implications of crude oil exploration in Africa.

The Sinister Political Life of Community, Michael Watts

Oil states - sometime called petro-states - encompass considerable variability. But each stands in relation to a particular sort of capitalism (which I shall call petro-capitalism), in which a key resource (oil) and a logic of extraction figure centrally in the making and breaking of community.

Life and Death on the Nigerian Oil Fields, Michael Watts

It has been a long, hot and violent summer in the Niger delta. The oil-producing region in the south-east of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and arguably most important country, is ablaze, and for the most part ungovernable.

21st Century ‘Resource Control’ Insurgencies, Charlie Tarr

It was hoped that mineral rich lands of the post-colonial world would catalyse a development boom, thus securing a productive future for these states in a new world order. However, a paradox has emerged from the possession of such resource wealth. Resource-rich countries have often descended into a trap of poor governance, poverty and civil unrest.