75650 - History and Institutions of Africa (2) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Irma Taddia

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SPS/13

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Course Timetable from Mar 23, 2020 to May 08, 2020

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of the history of African countries, especially during the colonial and post-colonial period. They will know the methodology used by historians of Africa and be aware of the main historiographical debates of the field. He will be able to discuss topics in African history both orally and in written form.

Course contents

During the course we will analyse and discuss some of the most relevant topics for the modern history of the African continent, with particular reference to the colonial and post-colonial period. The first part of the course will focus on the methodology used by Africanist historians, with special reference to the use of oral sources. We will discuss the main elements of the historiographical debate, with particular reference to the debate on the legacy of colonialism for African independent states. The second part of the course will focus on the process of nation-building after independence. We will analyse the decolonisation era, and the role of African intellectuals in the history of post-independence African states.



Students will have to read three books among the following:

I.Taddia- Tekeste Negash, State Institution and Leadership in Africa, Libreria universitaria edizioni 2018


C. Coquery Vidrovitch, Breve storia dell'Africa, Il Mulino 2012

AND two among the following:

- G. Rossi, L’Africa verso l’unità. Dagli Stati indipendenti all’Atto di Unione di Lomè (1945-2000), seconda edizione2013

- T. Negash, Woven into the Tapestry: How Five Women Shaped Ethiopian History, Tsehai Publishers, 2016

- I. Taddia (ed.), The diplomacy of religion in Africa. The last manuscript of Richard Gray, Aracne 2016


Students who will not attend the course, have to read one more text: I. Taddia, Etiopia 1800-1900. Le strategie del potere tra l'Africa e l'Italia, Franco Angeli, 2013. 

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures; power point slides with maps and pictures; group discussions

Assessment methods

During the oral exam you will be asked two or three questions on the topics discussed in the books that form the reading list. During the exam, you will have to show that you are familiar with the major events taking place in Africa from the slave trade until independence and post-independence period. To obtain a positive evaluation, you have to show that you are able to discuss methodological problems and use an appropriate terminology. First-class marks will be given to students who demonstrate to be able to produce an organic overview of the topics covered during the course, and to use an appropriate terminology. Limited knowledge, poor analytical and critical skills  will lead to a pass or only slightly higher mark. Gaps in the knowledge and a limited understanding of the secondary literature will result in a fail mark.

For the Integrated course, (1+2) the final grade will be the average of the two votes obtained in the two modules. 

Teaching tools

Group discussions; seminars with guest lecturers; documentary films

Office hours

See the website of Irma Taddia