The introduction explores the ways in which Jan Vansina wrote Africa's earlier history. It argues that he overturned paradigmatic knowledge in part through policing boundaries between disciplines, but always in search of new knowledge. The boundaries enclosed different kinds of labor in producing evidence about the past. Each kind of labor teaches the scholar something about place, responsibility, and imagination. These afterlives of working in Africa informed Vansina's interdisciplinarian publishing strategies, shape-shifting them into the imaginative, and prompting new generations of scholars to chart their own paths.
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