Haydon White’s Metahistory (1973) interprets representations of history as inherently reflecting historians’ subjectivity. That is, the modes in which historians represent history are significantly determined and grounded by their ideological commitments. In this article, I offer a metahistorical analysis of the modes of doing history undertaken by the African Islamic intellectual historians Ousmane Kane and Souleymane Bachir Diagne. I critically evaluate the consistency between the object of history as they assume it to be and the discourses they (re)produce, taking account of their ideologically grounded mode of realizing their chosen object of history. Taking the general object of history for the African intellectual to be the resistance of the colonial library, I argue that, in their pursuit of this object of history, Kane and Diagne fall short owing to their use of the Islamic library to assert the existence of an African intellectual history.

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