Undergraduate Course: Body and Power in Colonial Africa (HIST10432)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course uses the body as a lens to explore social and cultural histories of colonial Africa, covering roughly the period from ca.1890 - ca.1960. Engaging with core topics in the history of colonial Africa (medicine, violence, labour, fertility, death, youth, Christianity) we will explore the particular ways in which human bodies were sites in the exercise and negotiation of colonial power.
Colonialism in Africa was an inherently corporeal enterprise. Whether overtly (as in the acts of violence and novel forms of punishment that were deployed to sustain colonial rule) or tacitly, at the level of the everyday (through the reshaping of local ideas and practices surrounding sexuality, death, birthing, cleanliness, and healing) colonial power-relations in Africa directly touched upon the physical bodies of colonisers and colonised, and had profound implications for the ways in which the body was lived in and thought about.
This course uses the body as a lens to explore social and cultural histories of colonial Africa, covering roughly the period from ca.1890 - ca.1960. Through weekly seminars organised thematically, we will engage with core topics in the social and cultural history of colonial Africa: medicine and healing, violence and punishment, labour and time, fertility and reproduction, death and dying, youth and the city, missionaries and Christianity. In each instance, and looking at different colonial-African contexts, we will explore the particular ways in which human bodies were sites in the exercise and negotiation of colonial power. We will address the theoretical and methodological approaches to studying the body in relation to the history of colonialism in Africa. Throughout the course we will engage in a sustained way with the concepts of race and gender and how colonialism entailed their production and re-making.
Because the course is taught thematically some prior knowledge of African and/or colonial history will be useful, but it is not essential.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||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-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One essay of 3,000 words (40% of overall assessment)
One two-hour examination (40% of overall assessment)
One oral presentation (10% of overall assessment)
A class participation mark (10% of overall assessment)
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, a command of the key themes in the social and cultural history of colonialism in Africa and a command of the theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the body in relation to colonial power in Africa.
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship on the social and cultural history of colonialism in Africa.
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material.
- 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.
- demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
|Burke, Timothy James. Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women: Commodification, Consumption and Cleanliness in Modern Zimbabwe. London: Leicester University Press, 1996.|
A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, edited by Florence Bernault, translated by Janet Rotiman, 1:53. Portsmouth, N.H: Heinemann, 2003.
Comaroff, Jean and John L. Comaroff. Of Revelation and Revolution: The Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Hunt, Nancy Rose. A Colonial Lexicon of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo. Body, Commodity, Text. Durham [N.C.]; London: Duke University Press, 1999.
Hunt, Nancy Rose. A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
Lee, Rebekah, and Megan Vaughan. 'Death and Dying in the History of Africa since 1800.' The Journal of African History 49, no. 3 (January 1, 2008): 341,59. (Special Issue on Death in African History)
Livingston, Julie. Debility and the Moral Imagination in Botswana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2009.
Ray, Carina. Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2015.
Ocobock, Paul. An Uncertain Age: The Politics of Manhood in Kenya. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2017.
Shutt, Allison K. Manners Make a Nation: Racial Etiquette in Southern Rhodesia, 1910-1963. New York: University of Rochester Press, 2015.
Thomas, Lynn M. Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
Vaughan, Megan. Curing Their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness. Cambridge: Polity, 1991.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course will help students develop a range of transferable skills, including:
- the ability to manage ones 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.
|Course organiser||Mr Tom Cunningham
Tel: (0131 6)50 4619
|Course secretary||Miss Lorna Berridge