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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: African Print Cultures: Newspapers and their Publics in Modern African History, c. 1880 to 1975 (PGHC11503)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course reclaims African newspapers as a domain of historical study. Focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it takes African newspapers and periodicals as an entry point from which to explore the dynamic worlds of intellectual and cultural production in colonial and post-colonial Africa, and political and social change in modern African history more broadly.
Course description The course situates African newspapers and periodicals in a comparative global context and interrogates the usefulness of theoretical tools developed in other regional contexts for the study of East African print cultures. We consider why newspaper cultures developed in different ways in East Africa as compared with West Africa. The course engages critically with the often assumed distinction between oral and written forms of knowledge and cultural production, and throughout the course we pay attention to the continuities that are sometimes forgotten in a period of rapid change.

The course begins in the late nineteenth century, situating newspapers in the context of existing oral and textual cultures. New forms of textual production such as the newspaper provided a space for new kinds of creativity and the creation of new sorts of publics. We situate these new forms in the political and social context of the colonial period, considering, for example, the implications of colonial censorship and material constraints on intellectual and cultural production through print. At the same time, new textual forms helped to create new political and social identities. We interrogate the question of how far new publics were created in the colonial period, and whether the concept of the 'colonial public sphere' is analytically helpful. The course then moves into the nationalist period and the early post-colonial state from c. 1945 to c. 1975. We explore the nationalist press in the era of decolonization and its use as a tool of nation-building and a space for critique in the early post-colonial state. We then move on to consider the place of newspapers in the cultural history of post-colonial Africa. The final class takes the development of digital publics in the very recent past as a way into thinking about continuity and change and reflecting on the themes of the course as a whole.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
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 a detailed and critical command of the existing body of knowledge concerning the history of newspapers and periodicals in modern Africa.
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon the emerging body of scholarship concerning newspapers in Africa, including an ability to critically engage with the different disciplinary approaches taken by scholars.
  3. Understand and apply the methodologies considered in the course.
  4. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written by independently formulating an appropriate essay question and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course and through further reading.
  5. Demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
Karin Barber Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel: I.B. Thomas's "The Life Story of Me, Segilola" and Other Texts (Leiden: Brill, 2013)

James R. Brennan, 'Communications and Media History', in John Parker and Richard Reid, eds., The Oxford handbook of modern African History, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Harri Englund, 'Anti anti-colonialism: vernacular press and emergent possibilities in colonial Zambia', Comparative Studies in Society and History, 57, 1 (2015), 221-247

Hofmeyr, Isabel, Gandhi's Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013)

Kai Kresse and Hassan Mwakimako, Guidance (Uwongozi) by Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui: Selections from the first Swahili Islamic Newspaper, (Leiden: Brill, 2016)

Limb, Peter, ed., The People's Paper: A Centenary History and Anthology of Abantu-Batho (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2012)

Newell, Stephanie, The Power to Name: A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa, (Athens OH: Ohio University Press, 2013)

Newell, Stephanie, Marita: Or the Folly of Love: A Novel by A. Native (Leiden: Brill, 2002)

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

Wangari Muoria-Sal, Writing for Kenya: the life and works of Henry Muoria, (Leiden: Brill, 2009)

Kate Skinner and Wilson Yayoh, Writing the New Nation in a West African Borderland: Abl-de Safui (the Key to Freedom) by Holiday Komedja, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

Sharath Srinivasan, Stephanie Diepeveen and George Karekwaivanane, 'Rethinking Publics in a digital age', Journal of Eastern African Studies, 13, 2019, 2-17
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in research and enquiry
Oral communication skills (through seminar participation) and written communication skills (and through writing 4000-5000 word essay)
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Emma Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)50 4034
Course secretaryMiss Marketa Vejskalova
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