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

Undergraduate Course: Politics and Power in Post-Colonial Africa (HIST10382)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn the years around 1960, new post-colonial states were born across Africa. New states promised a great deal and the expectations of independence were high. But what changed? Did independence make a difference? To what extent did post-colonial states simply adopt the governing practices and ideologies of their colonial predecessors? This course asks how far and in what ways independence constituted a rupture in the political, cultural and intellectual history of twentieth-century Africa.
Course description This course explores the meaning of independence in East Africa¿s twentieth-century history through seminars organised around a series of themes - power and authority, citizenship, nationalism, race and gender. We tackle these themes through a close reading of contemporary texts with a particular focus on speeches, letters to newspapers and novels. Our focus is on late colonial and early independent East Africa, particularly Tanzania but also Kenya and Uganda.

We start in the 1940s and 1950s as new political ideas circulated and gave rise to new types of political thinking, at both local and national level. We consider the concept of "development" and the ways in which it provided a vocabulary for thinking about what modernity might mean. We then track the rise of new nationalist parties which called for immediate independence, promising that independence would bring the social, economic and political development which new African voters demanded. From there we move to the post-colonial period, and explore the ways in which post-colonial states performed the ideological work needed to build nations, but also the conflicts and fissures which persisted just below the surface.

This course engages with current debates in the history of Africa, the comparative history of decolonization and the emerging fields of African and global intellectual history.

1. Introduction: African independence in historical perspective
2. The "Second Colonial Occupation" and concepts of development in late colonial Africa
3. One nationalism or many?
4. From nationalist opposition to post-colonial government
5. Chiefs, subjects and citizens
6. Race
7. Taxation, Voluntary Work and Nation-Building
8. Creating a national culture
9. Gender and the City
10. Elections and One-Party Democracy
11. Legacies of independence
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503767).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents should normally have taken a university-level course in the twentieth-century history of Africa
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of key themes in the political and intellectual culture of late colonial and early post- colonial East Africa
  2. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon current historiographical debates around the meaning and significance of African independence;
  3. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Nyerere, Julius, Freedom and Unity, London: Oxford University Press, 1967
Ruhumbika, Gabriel, Village in Uhuru, London: Longman Group, 1969

Branch, Daniel Kenya: Between Hope and Despair, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011
Brennan, James Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania, Athens OH: Ohio University Press, 2012
Burton, Andrew and Jennings, Michael, ¿The emperor¿s new clothes? Continuities in governance in late colonial and early postcolonial East Africa¿ IJAHS 40, 2007
Cooper, Frederick, ¿Possibility and Constraint: African Independence in Historical Perspective¿, Journal of African History, 49, 2, 2008
Cooper, Frederick, Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002
Hunter, Emma, ¿Dutiful subjects, patriotic citizens and the concept of ¿good citizenship¿ in twentieth-century Tanzania¿, Historical Journal, 56, 1, 257-277
Ivaska, Andrew, Cultured States: Youth, Gender and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam, Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2011
Jennings, Michael, ¿We must run while others walk: popular participation and development crisis in Tanzania¿, Journal of Modern African Studies, 41, 2, 163-187
Lonsdale, John, ¿Anti-colonial nationalism and patriotism in Sub-Saharan Africa¿, in John Breuilly, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013
Peterson, Derek, Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will help students develop a range of transferable skills, including:
- the ability to manage one's time effectively, work to deadlines, and perform effectively under pressure;
- the ability to gather, sift, organise and evaluate large quantities of textual evidence;
- the ability to marshal argument in both written and oral form;
- the ability to work independently and as part of a pair or larger group.
KeywordsPost-colonial Africa
Course organiserDr Emma Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)50 4034
Course secretaryMrs Richa Okhandiar
Tel: (0131 6)50 2647
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