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

Undergraduate Course: Black Europe: Afropean Experience and Identity in Modern European History (HIST10476)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAfricans and people of African descent have been present in continental Europe since Antiquity, and in a more significant number since the nineteenth century by the latest. In the course of 'decolonizing Europe', European societies have been slowly beginning to come to terms with their own (post-)colonial past, the structural racism that continues to exist, their own 'Whiteness' as well as the 'Otherness' of their social heterogeneity. The field of Black European studies is thus garnering increased attention. This course provides a close reading of the Black European Studies' key texts, examines a wide array of case studies, and discusses the meanings of 'Blackness', 'Whiteness' and Afropean identity in modern European history critically.
Course description This course will explore the historical African-European foundations of Europe and some of the challenges that 'Afropean' identity has been triggering and facing at the same time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe. It will further examine the transnational experiences of people of African and African American descent in Europe, and how their presence and construction of national identity has shaped European self-awareness, the vision of global connectedness, European 'Whiteness', and human diversity.

Case studies from several European countries will be used to look more closely at historical developments, trends in 'Afropean' debate, and current social issues. The spectrum of case studies will range from the already better researched Western European regions such as France and Germany to Scandinavia, Russia, and the still less explored Eastern and Southern European regions like Poland or Rumania.

We will compare and contrast the experiences and answer, among others the following questions: How was "Blackness" experienced and performatively constructed? What influence did Afro-European people and materiality have on European transformation processes? How did their presence change the topical place attributed to them in political, social, and literary perception during the (post) colonial period, and how did they reinterpret it? And last but not least, how was the socialist programmatic "racial blindness" of the postwar era challenged by Black Africans and countered by growing racism?

These questions will be discussed and critically reflected, driven by the central texts in the newly emerging Black European Studies field, Black cultural theory, and various primary sources, including memoirs of Afro-European migrants, Afro-European poetry, visual sources, sculpture, newspaper articles, etc.
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.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting 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. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
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 an in-depth knowledge of the most important issues and themes considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate an ability to read, analyze and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship as well as to develop an independent and well-argued conclusion in their coursework;
  3. demonstrate the ability to make a use, to analyze and evaluate primary sources;
  4. demonstrate the ability to make informed contributions to class discussions and develop scholarly arguments in oral.
Reading List
Aitken, Robert; Rosenhaft, Eve: Black Germany. The Making and Unmaking of a Diaspora Community,1884-1960, Cambridge 2013.
Aitken, Robbie; Rosenhaft, Eve (eds.): Africa in Europe: Studies in Transnational Practice in the Long Twentieth Century, 2013 (E-book).
Childs, Adrienne L.; Libby, Susan H. (eds.): Blacks and Blackness in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century, 2014.
Esajas, Mitchell: Beyond Blackface: Emancipation Through the Struggle Against Black Pete and Dutch Racism. Stop Blackface,12.12.2014,
Florvil, Tiffany N.; Plumly, Vanessa D.(eds.): Rethinking Black German Studies. Approaches, Interventions and Histories, New York 2018.
Hine, Darlene Clark; McLeod ,Jacqueline (eds.): Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, Bloomington 1999.
Matusevich, Maxim: Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: Therme Centuries of Encounters, 2007.
Jules-Rosette, Bennetta: Black Paris. The African Writers' Landscape, Chicago 1998.
Mazon, Patricia; Steingröver, Reinhild (eds.): Not as Plain as Black and White: Afro-German Culture and History,1890-2000, Rocherster 2005.
McEachrane, Michael (eds.): Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe. New York 2014 (E-book).
Pitts, Johny: Afropean. Notes from Black Europe, 2019.
Raphael-Hernandez, Heike (eds.): Blackening Europe. The African American Presence, New York/London 2004.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Justyna Turkowska
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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