AFRICA: POSTCOLONIAL PERSPECTIVES
Dr B Page
Unit value: 0.5 unit Year 3 Term 1
Brief Course Description
This course is about understanding the changing character of knowledge about the cultures, societies, politics and economies of sub-Saharan Africa (including South Africa). The course relies very heavily on wide independent reading and the convenors expect candidates to read beyond the material provided in lectures and use books and journals from the African Studies literature.
The course aims to encourage students to reflect on the assumptions that underpin the production of geographical knowledge about Africa. The hope is that by paying attention to postcolonial theory students will become more alert to the lens through which those in the West look at the sub-continent. Students will acquire new information about Africa as the course progresses, however, the objective is that they will develop a critical perspective on the categories and representations used in the analysis of the continent. In addition the course aims to convince students that Africa is relevant to some of the key global debates of the next few decades (for example migration, trade, environmental conservation, international relations).
Course Content will include some (but not all) of the following topics
The character, history and value of postcolonial theory; the representation of cities and city-life; the relations between town and country; family, marriage, burial and the politics of personal obligations; the modernity of Islam, Christianity and witchcraft; trade and commodities; oil and geopolitics; liberation and nationalism; the colonial legacy of the postcolonial state; ethnicity and tribalism; violent conflicts and the postcolonial state; tenure and the politics of land redistribution; neoliberalism and democratization.
Method of Teaching
2 hours per week of lectures and some additional seminars/activities
Form of assessment
2 hour written exam (50%) and a 2,500 word piece of coursework from a short list of given questions (50%). Credit will be given for evidence of wide reading in the academic literature.
Pre-requisites and relationships to other courses
The course builds on GEOG 1006 Ideas in Geography and on GEOG2014 Development Geography. It also complements courses such as Migration and Transnationalism and Water and Development in Africa.
Abrahamson, R (2003) African studies and the post-colonial challenge African Affairs 102 189-210
Okri, B (1991) The Famished Road (London, Vintage)
Robinson, J (2003) Postcolonialising Geography: tactics and pitfalls Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 24(3) 273-289