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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : African Studies

Postgraduate Course: The Making of Contemporary Africa: Rupture, Stasis and Innovation (AFRI11008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to introduce students to the key social, economic and political changes that have marked the history of Africa from the late 19th century. It will examine the ways that these changes have reshaped the lives of individuals and communities on the continent. It will also seek to understand how individuals and communities have in turn understood, experienced and negotiated these changes. The course will provide students with a foundation on which to understand the social, political and economic realities in contemporary Africa.
Course description Since 1884, when 14 western nations met in Berlin to formally partition the African continent amongst themselves, Africa has experienced far-reaching social, political and economic changes. These include the imposition of colonial rule, the subsequent rise of nationalism and decolonisation; the spread of capitalism and rapid urbanisation; the growth in Christianity and Islam, and the emergence of new individual and communal identities, as well the eruption of bitter civil wars, alongside sustained efforts at fostering regional cooperation and integration.

This course will analyse the nature of these changes as well as the historical forces that produced them. In doing so emphasis will be laid on the differences in how these changes were experienced across time and space. Students will therefore be encouraged to tease out these temporal and spatial variations, along with the factors that account for them. The course will also equip students with the ability to historicise contemporary realities in Africa, and to draw out the insights that the past can offer to scholarly efforts to understand present-day realities.

The course will also draw on a range of approaches to the study of Africas past. Aside from social, and political history, students will be exposed urban, gender, and religious history. They will be encouraged to explore the ways these approaches can shed new light on Africas history. The discipline of history does not, and cannot, claim to have a monopoly on the answers to the questions that scholars have about Africas recent and more distant past. As such, insights will be drawn from other disciplines such as politics, economics, anthropology and literary studies.

An important concern in the course will be to critically examine the relationship between the past and the present. We will therefore explore the diverse ways that the past continues to shape the present. In addition, we will examine the way the present influences how social actors (and scholars) think about, and make use of the past. The course will also grapple with a set of questions on historiography, sources and methods that are central to the study of African history.
The course will be delivered over ten weeks through a weekly one-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial. The tutorial will be held after the lecture, and will consist primarily of student-led discussions.

The topics that will be covered in the course include:
- Political Authority and State-making in Precolonial Africa
- Invented Traditions and Traditions of Invention
- The Second Colonial Occupation
- Decolonisation in Africa: Struggles and Discourses
- Gender and Sexuality
- Health and Healing
- African Print Cultures and Publics
- Law, Power and Agency
- Popular Culture
- Urbanisation in Africa: Space, Power and Sociality
- Memory and memorialisation
- Regional Cooperation and integration
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
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 in-depth knowledge of the key historical forces that have shaped contemporary Africa, and the varied impact they have had across time and space
  2. Critically examine different theoretical approaches to the study of African history and evaluate them against empirical evidence in an independent manner
  3. Analyse the diverse forms of evidence used to construct African history, and evaluate the claims made on the basis of this evidence
  4. Evaluate and synthesize different historiographical trends, and articulate them clearly, both verbally and in written form
Reading List
Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism (Princeton, 1996)

Karin Barber (ed.), Readings in African Popular Culture (London, 1997).

Tejumola Olaniyan, ┐Arrest the Music!┐: Fela and his Rebel Art (Bloomington, 2004).

Frederick Cooper, Africa Since 1945: The Past of the Present (Cambridge, 2002)

Paul Nugent, Africa since independence: A Comparative History (Basingstoke, 2012)

Bekeh Ukkelina, The Second Colonial Occupation: Development Planning, Agriculture and the Legacies of British Rule in Nigeria, (London, 2017)

Sylvia Tamale (ed), African Sexualities: A Reader, Oxford, 2011.

Jean Allman, Susan Geiger, Nakanyike Musisi (eds) Women in African colonial histories (Bloomington, 2002)

Lisa Lindsay & Miescher, Stephan(eds), Men and masculinities in modern Africa (Portsmouth, 2003)

John Illiffe, Africans: The history of a continent (Cambridge, 2007)

Dorothy Hodgson & McCurdy, Sheryl (eds) ┐Wicked┐ women and the reconfiguration of gender in colonial
Africa (Portsmouth, 2001)

Richard Abel., Politics by Other Means: Law in the Struggle against Apartheid, 1980-1994 (New York, 1995).

Derek Peterson, Emma Hunter and Stephanie Newell, (eds) African Print Cultures: Newspapers and their Publics in the Twentieth Century, (Ann Arbor 2016).

Megan Vaughan, Curing their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness (Stanford, 1991).

David M. Anderson and Richard Rathbone (eds), Africa┐s Urban Past (Oxford, 2000).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Synthesizing and analyzing empirical and theoretical material from a variety of sources;
2. Examining, using and assessing evidence in support of explanatory and normative claims;
3. Developing and evaluating arguments that take different kinds of social complexity into account;
4. Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgment.
Additional Class Delivery Information 10 lecture hours, 10 seminar hours
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr George Karekwaivanane
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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