Africa doesn't have a good image. For many, particularly in the West, the continent summons up ideas of corrupt leadership, malnourished, diseased children, conflict and crime from internet scams to piracy. Often it seems that outsiders - development agencies, well-meaning pop stars and foreign media - are the chief shapers of African images while African agents are passive or impotent.
Images of Africa challenges the idea that Africans are powerless in the creation of self-image. It explores the ways in which image creation is a process of negotiation entered into by a wide range of actors within and beyond the continent - in presidents' offices and party HQs, in newsrooms and rural authorities, in rebel militia bases and in artists' and writers' studies.
Its ten chapters, written by scholars working across the continent and a range of disciplines, develop innovative ways of thinking about how image is produced. They ask; who controls image, how is it manipulated and what effects do the images created have for political leaders and citizens and for Africa's relationships with the wider world. The answers to these questions provide a compelling and distinctive approach to Africa's positioning in the world, establishing the dynamic, relational and sometimes subversive nature of image.
Images of Africa is for anyone who is interested in depictions of Africa and will be of particular use to students of African Studies, African Politics and Media Studies.
Julia Gallagher is a lecturer in International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London