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Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.

Description

How can novels situated on steamships and in pubs in the centre of Africa serve as historic sources? What is the relationship between past European missionaries operating in Africa and current humanitarian organisations? Did crossing the Mediterranean fulfil colonisers and migrants’ dreams or did they instead encounter unexpected nightmares? What can some of the metal in your laptops and mobile phones tell you about the relationship between Africa and Europe? How is an African Diasporic identity expressed in a globalized popular (music) culture? There have always been connections between Europe and Africa whether real or imaginary. In this course, we study connectivity in expressions, memories, movements, ideas, music and resources since the late nineteenth century that are both historically and anthropologically situated. The concepts ‘connections/connectivity’, ‘mobility/immobility’ and ‘memory’ form the theoretical and methodological backbone of this course. Research on connections, mobility and memory is, because of the nature of the concepts, interdisciplinary. In this course the students are therefore invited to develop their own take on mixed methods. The empirical topics we discuss and that will help to understand the concepts vary from (post)colonialism to humanitarianism, from mining and money to music and migration.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

The student has acquired:

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;
    -in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1600-2000, with a focus on (urban) networks (within and across borders);
    -in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes of identity and state formation; hence insight in cross-cultural processes (including the infrastructure of shipping and other modes of communication) that affect regions across the world such as imperialism, colonisation, islamisation, modernisation and globalisation (in particular during the period 1200-1940);

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:
    -in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;
    -in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student has acquired:

  • 13) The manner in which connectivities, mobilities (of people, goods and ideas) and memory between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period since 1750.

  • 14) The interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences and humanities), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources (which includes empirical work);

  • 15) (ResMA only):
    a) The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources;
    b) The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates;
    c) Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation relating to connectivity, mobility and memory.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Written paper (ca. 8000 words, based on primary source research, including footnotes and bibliography) or a non-traditional research project (e.g. video and/or audio documentary or website) along with a shorter, more theoretical paper (ca. 3000-3500 words) or alternative publication (e.g. Brill e-paper) – guidelines and special methodology classes will be provided.

  • Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 13-14*

  • Oral presentation

  • Measured learning objectives: 3-7, 13-14, for ResMA students also 15*

  • Book review of novel

  • Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 13-14, for ResMA students also 15*

  • Active participation in class

  • Measured learning objectives: 7-9, for ResMA students also 10*

Weighing

  • Written paper/research project: 60%

  • Oral presentation: 20% (2 x 10%)

  • Book review: 10%

  • Class participation: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the research project must always be sufficent.

Deadlines

Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Blackboard.

Resit

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the research project is to be revised after consultation with the instructors.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the research project will have to be organised.

Reading list

T.B.A.
We will mostly use articles that can be downloaded from the university library, and films and podcasts available online.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. A.M. van der Wal-Remy Dr. P.W. van Trigt

Remarks

We encourage and try to enable students to go beyond the traditional research paper format – if desired – by making films, websites, podcasts and e-papers. To help facilitate this, the course includes trips to the Centre for Innovation in The Hague and the African Studies Centre in Leiden and interaction with members of the Connecting in Times of Duress research project and Voice4thought foundation.