History 313 (201) Africa from Imperialism to Independence




Course Level





An examination of the many roiled histories of modern Africa, beginning with the transformations resulting from abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in the early nineteenth century. We will explore the complexities of European and African encounters: imperial conquest and forms of African resistance, missionary influences, and the many ways that race and ethnicity were historically constructed. Students will also examine the many scales at which conflict in different African societies has been historically produced – including conflicts defined by gender and generation. Students will interrogate dominant narratives of African nationalism and anti-colonial liberation movements, exploring the ways ordinary women and men participated in their own struggles. We’ll go large scale, tracing the colonial-era roots of the post-colonial present, with a focus on problems of state formation after independence. In doing so we will seek historical explanations for contemporary violence and Africa’s shrunken stature in the global economy. We’ll also go small scale, examining the ways that African family life has changed over time in various contexts. And we'll look at how people, historically, have had fun – and why that matters.