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 takes a distinctly global approach, with the cities of Africa, Asia, and South America featuring prominently. And while we will touch on cities of the more distant past, 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.
An introduction to the long arc of African history, from early times to recent times. Given the diversity of the continent and its deep past, we will use a sampling of historical episodes to explore alternative methods of doing history and different ways of thinking about what history is. Students will become familiar with how historians have made use of archeology, historical linguistics, material culture, art, photography, works of fiction, oral traditions, and personal interviews. They will engage with some of the principal themes of African historiography, such as the question of “civilization”, the impacts of the transatlantic slave trade, the nature of resistance in the colonial era, and the challenges of post-independence state-making. Students will also begin to wield the foundational tools of historical practice for themselves – including evidence analysis, library and research skills, and writing. During a unit dedicated to historical and ethnographic museums (such as the UBC Museum of Anthropology) students will also address issues related to engaging a wider public in African history.
The upheavals of southern Africa over the last century or so have resonated throughout the world. The nature of colonial conquest and empire building, Zulu resistance, the stunning growth of the Witwatersrand mining and industrial complex, the struggle against apartheid, the Mandela effect…all have made the history of the subcontinent key to understanding racialized exploitation and challenges to it. This course focuses on the politics of race, while also examining the many ways that “politics” can be understood.
This seminar doubles as a workshop in the craft of writing historical narrative. Each week, students will read a short work of history and discuss how the historian’s choices in style, structure, and voice contribute to the historian’s argument. Students will also write short papers, each in a different explanatory mode, to apply what they learn about narrative technique and experiment with their own.
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