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.
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 subcontinent something of an archetype for understanding themes of racialized exploitation and challenges to it. This course is unabashedly a course about politics, with a focus on the politics of race. And yet, we examine the many different ways that “politics” can be understood.
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.
History 597A will take place at SFU Vancouver Campus (Harbour Centre 515 West Hastings Street) - Room: HCC7210
Cities capture our imagination in many ways. They are the theatres of human drama, settings in which identities are made, communities built, and conflicts waged. Historical processes have a distinct shape when they occur in cities, and this course will provide the opportunity to reflect on a variety of themes through the lens of the urban environments in which they play out. With cities from around the world and in various historical periods as our starting point, we will analyse social and cultural interactions, political tensions and economic impulses, as well as migratory patterns and power dynamics of gender, class and race that make urban environments both extraordinarily vibrant and deeply contested. Recognising that local environments are closely integrated to global processes, we will pay particular attention to the transnational movements and forces at play in the formation of cities around the world.
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