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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Colonial Wars and Modernizing Missions: Europe's violent Transformations of the non-European World in the 20th Century (HIST10358)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryHistorians of the 20th century have studied forms of extreme violence mainly on the European continent. While the Second World War and the Holocaust form the centre of the dark century, the second half of the 20th century appears much more as a time of peace, economic growth, cultural revolutions and development.
This module looks at the 20th century through the lens of colonial warfare, forms of violent communication between Europe and other parts of the world. It suggests re-assessments of the history of violence in the 20th century and looks at different forms of self-appointed European missions in the non-European world. The Christian, scientific, civilizing and modernizing missions were different formats through which Europeans aimed to legitimize colonial rule and the their politics of difference. Particular interest will be paid to the increasing contradictions between the self-conception of European democracies and the realities of colonial warfare on the other hand. Last not least, the module will pay attention to recent debates on the colonial character of the Nazi Empire, questions of how racism and violence in the colonies were linked to experiences on the European continent. Colonialism did not vanish in the air. Legacies, traditions and repercussions will be broadly discussed. The module will end by looking at the broader debate on repercussions of colonial experiences by looking at recent attempts of Western armies in Iraq and Afghanistan to learn from colonial wars.

Course description Semester One
(General patterns of colonial wars, theoretical approaches, transitions of colonial violence)

1. War and Violence in the 20th century - a global history overview
Key reading: A Debate between Ian Kershaw and Stephen Smith

2. Otherness and Violence: The First colonial encounters: Cortés and the Aztecs
Key reading: Tzvetan Todorov

3. Colonial Turning Points around 1900: The Boer War / Philippines
Key reading: H. Walser Smith and Paula M. Krebs

4. Is extreme violence decreasing? Theoretical Concepts.
Key Readings: Norbert Elias, Civilizing Process and Steven Pinker, Better Angels of Our Nature.

5. Heart of Darkness: A metaphor and its meaning
Key reading: Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness
Film Clips: Aguirre - Wrath of God; Apocalypse Now

6. Hannah Arendt and the corruption of European culture through colonial violence
Key reading: Hannah Arendt

7. German South-West Africa in 1904: The first genocide of the 20th century?
Key Readings: Isabel Hull, Absolute Destruction; Jürgen Zimmerer, The First German Genocide

8. Independence movements and anti-colonial concepts of violence
Key readings: Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, Aimé Césaire: Discourse on Colonialism

9. Decolonization, Colonial Wars and Human Rights
Key Readings: Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace; Stefan-Ludwig Hoffman, Human Rights in the 20th century

10. Overlapping agendas: Cold War and Colonial Wars
Key reading: Matthew Connelly

11. Colonial Transitions: Indochina and Vietnam War
Key reading Mark Atwood Lawrence, The Vietnam War: A Concise International History

Semester 2:
(Forced Modernization, Colonialism and the Holocaust, Repercussions)

12. Obstacles on the runway:
American Modernization Theory and late colonial contexts
Key reading: Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future

13. Algeria I: Europe's deadliest colonial war
Key reading: Alistair Horne/Benjamin Stora
Film Presentation: Battle of Algiers (G. Pontecorvo 1966.)

14. Algeria II: Colonial Wars and torture
Key reading: Raphaëlle Branche

15. Algeria III: Modernization as Weapon: French efforts to 'modernize' Algerians
Key reading: Pierre Bourdieu on the violent transformation of Algeria

16. Fighting Backwardness: The Mau Mau War in Kenya
Key reading: Caroline Elkins and John Londsdale

17. Race and Space: Is there a path from colonialism to the Holocaust ?
Key readings: Gerwarth/Malinowski, Hannah Arendt's Ghosts; A. Dirk Moses, Towards a Critical Theory of Genocide

18. German Warfare and the 'Empire' in the East: Was the Nazi's War in the East a colonial war?
Key reading: Mazower, Empire

19. Genocides. Re-writing the history of violence in the 20th century
Key reading: A. Dirk Moses, Genocide Studies

20. Colonial repercussions in France and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s
Key Reading: Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies; Amelia Lyons, The Civilizing Mission in the Metropole.

21. Modernizing Missions reloaded: Development and Forced Modernization From Algiers to Kabul
Key Reading: Feichtinger/Malinowski, Transformative Interventions

22. Lessons of colonial warfare - Current applications in Afghanistan
Key reading: Branch / Fitzsimmons

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 344 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2 essays (1 per Semester): 30%; non-written skills: 10%; 2 x 2-hour exams (60%).
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 12:00
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 22:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1) an ability to analyse and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations on a given topic;
    2) the acquisition of basic knowledge in some of the most important fields of research on European late colonial history, acquiring a better understanding of "the age of extremes" and some of the most important concepts and methodological approaches to study it.
    3) an understanding of the political importance of interpretations on colonial history
    4) understand the importance of the historiographical concepts such as comparative history and transfer history, entangled history, histoire croisée
    5) an ability to synthesize secondary literature;
    6) be able to approach and interpret primary sources by using scholarly literature
    7) the ability to use these critical skills to advance clear, well-reasoned and independent arguments in both written and oral forms.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Independent gathering of evidence; critical analysis of images/film material, discussion in groups, oral presentations, critical consideration of learning materials; oral argument and debate; management of timetable and workload; and the production of work to deadlines
KeywordsColonial Wars
Course organiserDr Stephan Malinowski
Tel: (0131 6)50 3588
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Stobie
Tel: (0131 6)50
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