Africa before 1900:
A continent without a history?
Staff contact: Dr
This module will consider the Economic and Social History
(and the Political History as far as it is relevant) of Africa south of
the Sahara in the period before the formal establishment of European rule
in the last decade of the nineteenth century.
Although material will be drawn from the whole continent, the mass
of material will be concerned with West Africa (from Cape Verde to the
Cameroon) and East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Rift Valley).
Students will be encouraged, however, to develop interests they
may have in other areas.
Two major themes and questions will be central.
The first is that of the nature of African economies and societies
and the nature and possibility of change within them without external
pressure. The second is the
nature of external pressure-- both European and Arab -- on African societies
and their response to it.
Underlying the course will be the question of the nature
of Development, particularly in a non-European context and of the means
by which development can be brought about.
Students will be encouraged to think about this theme throughout
the module and the first essay, and the tutorials related to it, will
be specifically concerned with this question.
By the end of the module you should have a broad understanding
of African Development in the years before European Rule and of the nature
and types of African economic and social systems.
Your studies will also encourage you to question some of the major
assumptions many economic and social historians make about the nature
and direction of development itself.
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