29729 - African History and Institutions (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the main historiographical debates on the history of sub-saharan Africa, also in connection to global history, and be aware of the specific methodology of the field. They will be able to situate the colonial experience in Africa in the general framework of European colonialism and imperialism. The will know the main aspects of the colonial encounter and the role of African societies and cultures in shaping it.

Course contents

The course is divided into two parts. The first part (6 hours) is an introduction to the history of sub-saharan Africa and its connections to global historical processes from 1800 to 1960. Those students who do not have a background in African history can read R. Reid, A History of Modern Africa. 1800 to the Present, Wiley 2012. In this first part we will also analyse the main developments of the African History field and the main elements of the historiographical debates, also in relation to the field of Global History. The second part of the course will explore sub-saharan Africa during the colonial period. The analyses will be situated into the larger framework of the history of European imperialism in the 19th and 20th century. This part of the course will specifically focus on the colonial encounters. Through the analysis of some specific thematic issues, such as gender relations in the colonies, the relation between European and local languages, the impact of colonial money on African societies, African national and international resistance, witchcraft, violence and genocide, we will reconstruct the history of colonialism in Africa as a process of continuos interaction and negotiation between the colonizers and the colonized societies.

Readings/Bibliography

STUDENTS ATTENDING THE COURSE:

Students attending the course will be given weekly readings, that are designed to complement the lectures. The readings and assignments will make students think about African history and historiography in a critical perspective. The material will be uploaded on iol.unibo.it at the beginning of the course and the material on specific themes will be uploaded each week.

STUDENTS NOT ATTENDING THE COURSE:

Students not attending the course will read a total of four books:

(This is a bibliography in English only; if you prefer to read the texts in Italian, please make reference to the Italian page of the course)

Compulsory readings:

Gilbert, Erik and Jonathan T. Reynolds, Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present. Boston: Pearson, 2012 [3rd edition]

AND

Cooper, F., Africa in the world. Capitalism, Empire and the Nation-State, Cambridge, 2014

AND

Two among the following:

Johannes Fabian, Language and Colonial Power. The Appropriation of Swahili in the Former Belgian Congo 1880-1938, University of California Press, 1986.

Katherine Luongo, Witchcraft and colonial rule in Kenya, 1900-1950, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

John M. Mugane, The Story of Swahili, Ohio University Press, 2015

Carina Ray, Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana, Ohio University Press, 2015


Teaching methods

Lectures and class discussions. Archival documents and photographs, travelogues, biographies, novels, will be presented and analyzed in order to better situate the historical processes discussed in class.

Assessment methods

STUDENTS ATTENDING THE COURSE:

Students attending the course will be evaluated on the basis of:

a. participation to classes and discussions (50%)

During the course, you will have to keep up on the readings. To receive a positive evaluation for this part, you will have to engage with the readings and assignments, to think actively about them and to participate to class discussions in a positive way. There will be a total of five group discussions during the course. To be considered as attending students you have to participate to at least four of them.

b. oral exam (50%)

Students will also be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. During the exam, you will have to discuss the material of the first part of the course (two articles which will be uploaded on iol.unibo.it) and select one out of four of the main topics discussed during the course: gender, money, language, witchcraft (and prepare the material on the topic that will be uploaded on iol.unibo.it). During the exam, you have to show that you are familiar with the most important processes that characterize the history of Africa during the colonial period and that you are able to situate it in a wider historical perspective. You also have to demonstrate that you are able to discuss methodological problems and use an appropriate terminology.

STUDENTS NOT ATTENDING THE COURSE:

Students not attending the course will be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. During the oral exam you will be asked four questions, one on each book you have read. During the exam, you have to show that you are familiar with the most important processes that characterize the history of Africa during the colonial period  and that you are able to situate it in a wider historical perspective. You also have to demonstrate 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.

Teaching tools

We will use power point presentations with images and maps. These will be made available to the students and uploaded on IOL

Office hours

See the website of Karin Pallaver