In 2018W, the topic for HIST 104B, 201 is Cities in History. This course is an introduction to the urban past that explores one of the key dynamics of human history: how people have shaped cities while at the same time cities have shaped what people have produced, what they have thought, and how they have related to each other. The course taks a global approach, with the cities of Africa, Asia and South America featuring prominently. We will give particular attention to the modern era, from about 1800 to the present, and concentrate on three topics: the making of urban poverty, the politics of planning, and cities as incubators of creative and imaginative life.
This course introduces students to the rich history of a continent that, until relatively recently, many scholars dismissed as a place without history. Given the diversity of Africa and the depth of its past, it would be better to call this course a sampling rather than a survey, one which uses selected glimpses to explore alternative methods of doing history and different ideas of what history is. It is simultaneously a writing-intensive course in which students begin to wield the tools of historical practice – including evidence analysis, library and research skills, and writing – and to address different ways of engaging a wider public in African history.
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.
The Era of Decolonization: Between 1945 and 1980, as most of Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia declared itself independent of foreign rule, the citizens of new nation-states confronted a hard reality: a clean break would be impossible. In this seminar, students will examine the different ways that people in different contexts attempted to overcome forms of colonialism both before and after new flags were lifted over new countries. We will examine cultural nationalism, the contentious politics of independence movements, the attempts of new regimes to revise or undo longstanding and unequal economic relationships, efforts to decolonize literature and scholarship, and the everyday experiences of ordinary people as they took part in what was often an experimental restructuring of sociand~
ety. In doing so, we will debate competing theories of informal imperialism and dependence, and examine the ways that independence was imagined, including alternatives that never came to be and narratives that were silenced. The course also functions as a workshop for the writing of a 15-20 page paper of original research.
PhD, African History, University of Minnesota, 2015
Predoctoral Fellow, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies,
University of Virginia, 2013-2015
BA, History, Yale University, 1997