Rebel: 500 years of small wars, civil wars and insurgencies in Africa

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Armed resistance to authority in Africa has a history going back centuries. Anti-colonial resistance gave way to wars of liberation, which in turn gave way to violent expressions of the nationalist discourse since the 1960s. Today, such armed expressions differ in many ways from their representations in the Cold War and the post-Cold War era. Nevertheless, a shared feature endures: armed resistance, often initially expressed in the form of a rebellion or insurgency, is the weaker side’s expedient. This work seeks to examine armed resistance in Africa and how state authorities have responded to this threat and its mutations through history. A secondary objective will be a historiological examination of “small wars” theory, which has implications for the contemporary debate on civil wars and insurgency. The use of war modelling concepts shall inform the volume’s theoretical analysis. Additionally, over 40 detailed country case studies and dozens of shorter ones from 16th Century pre-colonial Africa to date shall be employed to bridge the academic gap between concept and practice. Indeed, the wealth and depth of case studies — illustrative “stories” with a theoretical base — that crisscross the narrative, are a critical separator of this work. In interrogating asymmetric warfare as the weaker side’s expedient, in demystifying the phenomenon of rebellion, and in analysing the causes, conduct and experience of civil wars and insurgency in Africa, this volume aims to contribute to the discourses on historical and contemporary security studies in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Small wars
  • Civil war
  • Insurgency
  • Rebellion
  • International relations
  • Africa


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