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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe course looks at Europe's violent ways to transform the non-European world. Touching upon a wide range of examples the course deals with Europe's colonial wars in the 20th century. Colonial wars are discussed in connection with various forms of Europe's self-declared 'civilising' and 'modernising' missions.
Course description Historians 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third 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: 503780).
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, an ability to analyse and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations on a given topic;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, 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. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an understanding of the political importance of interpretations on colonial history
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, understand the importance of the historiographical concepts such as comparative history and transfer history, entangled history, histoire croisée
  5. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to synthesize secondary literature
Reading List
Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951. Reprint. New York: Harcourt 1994.
Mazower, Mark, Dark Continent. Europe's Twentieth Century, Vintage Books 2000.
Frederick, Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History, Berkeley, 2005.
Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism. Trans. Joan Pinkham. 1955. Reprint. New York: Monthly Review Press. 2000.
Fanon, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth (French 1961, first English Translation 1963).
Todorov, Tzvetan, The Conquest of America. The Question of the Other, New York 1984.
Aussaresses, General Paul. The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957, New York: Enigma Books, 2010.
Creighton Miller, Stuart, 'Benevolent Assimilation': The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (London and New Haven, 1982)
Horne, Alistair, A Savage War of Peace, Algeria 1954-1962. With a new preface by the author, New York 2006 (first edition 1977).
Grosse, Pascal. "From Colonialism to National Socialism to Postcolonialism: Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism." In Postcolonial Studies 9.1, 2006, 35-52.
Hull, Isabel V. Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.
Pakenham, Thomas, The Scramble for Africa. White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876-1912, New York 1991.
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 Rachel Ord
Tel: (0131 6)50 3580
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