28760 - History and Institutions of Africa

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

• At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the historical sources needed to study the history of sub-Saharan Africa. They will know the main social, economic and political processes that have characterized the history of the African continent over the long term. They will be aware of the main historiographical debates on the history of sub-Saharan Africa, especially on colonialism, the decolonization process and the building of the post-colonial state. They will be able to plan and develop a research on subjects connected to African history and cultures. They will acquire the ability to talk and write about Africa using the specific terminology of the field.

Course contents

The course is divided into two modules.

MODULE 1 (30 hours): Africa and colonialism.

The first part of Module 1 (6 hours) is an introduction to the history of Sub-saharan Africa and its connections to global historical processes from 1800 to 1960. The 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  development of the filed of African History and the main elements of the historiographical debates, also in relation to the field of Global History. The second part of the module (14 hours) 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, colonialism and witchcraft, we will reconstruct the history of colonialism in Africa as a process of continuos interaction and negotiation between the colonizers and the colonized societies. During this module, students are required to participate to group discussions (10 hours), during which we will discuss scientific articles and historical sources that students have to read in advance.

MODULE 2 (30 hours): Images of Africa.

During Module 2 we will focus on the representation of Africa in Italy, with specific attention to the themes of conflicts, poverty and development. Chronologically, this module will cover the post-independence period. The first part of this module (4 hours) will discuss the historical roots of the discourse on Africa. The second part of the module will discuss:

- the formation of the post-colonial state (5 hours);

- conflicts in Africa (5 hours);

- poverty in Africa (4 hours);

colonialism, memory am representations (4 hours).

Part of the course (8 hours) will be devoted to class discussions and presentations.

 

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 six books:

 

Compulsory readings:

G. Calchi Novati e P. Valsecchi, Africa: La storia ritrovata. Dalle prime forme politiche agli stati nazionali, Roma, Carocci, 2016.

A. Pallotti, M. Zamponi, A.M. Medici, L'Africa contemporanea, Milano, Le Monnier Università, Mondadori Education, 2017.

R. Betts, L'alba illusoria. L'imperialismo europeo nell'Ottocento, Il Mulino, 2008

AND three among the following:

Antonio M. Morone, La fine del colonialismo italiano, Politica, Società e memorie, Mondadori Education, 2019

Calchi Novati, G., L'Africa d'Italia, Carocci, 2011

Dore, G., C. Giorgi e M. Zaccaria (a cura di) Governare l'Oltremare. Istituzioni, funzionari e società nel colonialismo italiano, Carocci, Roma, 2013

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.

A. Bellagamba, L'Africa e la Stregoneria. Saggio di Antropologia Storica, Laterza, 2008.

 


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 (40%)

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 first part of the course and four during the second part of the course. To be considered as attending students you have to participate to at least four in the first module and three in the second module.

b. oral exam (60%)

Students will also be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. For the first module, you will have to discuss the material of the first part of the course (which will be uploaded on iol.unibo.it) and select one out of four of the main topics discussed during the course. For the second module, you will have to prepare the material discussed in class as well as a selection of articles from the reading list available on iol.unibo.it (a total of 8 articles/book chapters). 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 and postcolonial 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 six 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 and postcolonial 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; documentary films; writings by African intellectuals. These will be made available to the students and uploaded on iol.unibo.it

Office hours

See the website of Karin Pallaver