The Animated Atlas of African History provides an interactive map that “gives a year-by-year presentation of selected themes in the history of Africa between 1879 and 2002.” It was originally conceptualized by Dr. Nancy Jacobs for instructional purposes, to assist her in teaching a course on twentieth-century Africa. It is an ongoing project, with the atlas being continuously updated and revised through user feedback as well.
Below are a few screenshots from the atlas. What I want to highlight are the dynamic and fluid nature of boundaries such that a particular territory (which today we might consider as a reified “nation-state”) and its identity become historically contingent. Not only are philosophical terms messy and hazy, but so too are material realities and their political constitutions and histories.