72513 - Modern and Contemporary History of Africa (2)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

This is an introductory course to African history from the colonial period to independence. At the end of the course you will have a detailed knowledge of the major historical events taking place in Africa in this period and be able to situate these events in the framework of global historical trends. You will be aware of the major historiographical debates, especially regarding African nationalism, decolonization and the impact of colonialism on African societies. You will be familiar with the sources used by historians of Africa and be able to use the appropriate terminology when writing and talking about African history.

Course contents

From colonialism to decolonization: nationalism, panafricanism, négritude and the post-colonial states

This course focuses on the history of sub-saharan Africa during the transition from colonialism to independence. In the first part of the course, we will analyze the different forms of African resistance to colonial rule. We will investigate the participation of Africa to WWI and WWII and the development of international movements, especially panafricanism and négritude. We will analyze the most important phases of the decolonization process, from the independence of Ghana in 1957 to the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.

In the second part of the course, we will focus on specific case-studies in order to provide some examples of the political and economic choices of the leaders of post-independence Africa. We will discuss some of the most prominent political leaders, such as Julius Nyerere, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and Nelson Mandela, and their writings. We will investigate the impact of colonialism on independent African countries and analyze the relationship between history, nationalism and the formation of the post-colonial state.



Students not attending the course:

You will read a total of three books:

1. G. Calchi Novati e P. Valsecchi, Africa: la storia ritrovata. Dalle prime forme politiche alle indipendenze nazionali, Carocci, 2016

2. R. Betts, La decolonizzazione, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007 [you can read the original English version]

3. One among the following [you can read the original version in English or French if you prefer]

A. Césaire, Discorso sul colonialismo. Seguito da Discorso sulla negritudine, Ombre Corte, 2010

F. Fanon, I Dannati della terra, Einaudi, 2007

N. Mandela, Lungo Cammino verso la libertà, Feltrinelli, 2013.

T. Sankara, I discorsi e le idee, Roma: Edizioni Sankara, 2003

P. Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, Ohio University Press, 2017

Students attending the course:

Students attending the course will choose two of the texts in the reading list above and study the slides projected in class, as well as the material available on campus.unibo.it (instructions on how to get access to the material will be given in class). Depending on the number of students attending the course, students will present and discuss in class parts of the texts assigned

Teaching methods

Lectures, supported by power point presentations. Discussion of historical sources.

Assessment methods

During the oral exam you will be asked three questions, one on each book you have read. For the students attending the course, part of the exam will be on the themes and issues discussed in class and part on the books chosen from the reading list. During the exam, you will have to show that you are familiar with the major events taking place in Africa from mid 20th century until the 1980s.To obtain a positive evaluation, you have to show that you are able to discuss methodological problems and use an appropriate terminology. You have to read all the books assigned. If the reading list is not clear enough or you have problems in finding the texts, please contact Prof. Pallaver by e-mail.You can also ask for a reading list in English.

If you are taking the integrated course Storia moderna e contemporanea dell'Africa (C.I.) the final grade will be the average between the two grades obtained in the two volumes.

Teaching tools

During each lecture, we will use power point presentations with maps and images. We will discuss historical sources as well as African intellectuals and politicians writings. We will also use documentary films.

Office hours

See the website of Karin Pallaver