This carefully researched and nuanced book persuasively argues that the study of Abeokuta's history, and African history in general, should not take the so-called “precolonial” as a given against which the modern is contrasted. At the same time, it urges the reader to not perpetuate colonial narratives that associate modernity with Europe, and, in particular, with colonial rule. Moreover, the book argues against a perspective—for instance, brought forward by Olufemi Taiwo—that sees colonialism as an abortion of the modernization in Africa. In pursuit of finding the “African Modern”—in a way a continuation of the author's earlier work on the Osumare Egba newspaper1—Oluwatoyin Oduntan shows how the history of Abeokuta is, instead of in terms of dichotomies, better understood through an approach that allows for a blurring of distinctions, for fluid identities, and, more important, a perspective that highlights struggles and interactions instead of an “evolution” of modernity. Accordingly,...

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