ARCH 566 /AAS 406D

Feb. 15 - Colonialism and Anti-Colonialism

Guest Lecturer: Hanan Sabea


Class Outline

I. The Scramble

The session will start with the late 19th century European conquest and the scramble for Africa as a process that resulted in the entrenchment of colonial rule in most part of the Continent. We will examine briefly how places and peoples were divided or consolidated as units and parts of different colonial Empires. This phase of re-working (and re-drawing) the political space of Africa will take us up to WWI. The section emphasizes: 1) the consolidation of colonial rule has to be situated in a larger context of relationships that predate the late 19th and early 20th century (e.g. trade relations; chartered companies) and implicates transformations that take place within as well as outside of Africa 2) the process much as it implies the exercise of unequal power (between Europeans and Africans) we cannot ignore the role of different groups of people in challenging and shaping the actual course of the imposition of colonial rule 3) the categories that follow of colonizer and colonized cannot be treated as monolithic units, rather we have to look at the divisions and tensions prevailing under each of these and how they shaped the course of colonial rule in Africa.

II. Managing People and Places

The section delves into aspects of how colonial rule was exercised in different parts of the Continent focusing on: 1) the administration of people and the idea of managing them through social categories, like tribe 2) the organization of space for economic exploitation and use of resources (e.g. cash crop production like cocoa in Ghana, mines, plantations, etc.) 3) the regulation of relations between people and resources by focusing on property relationships The emphasis here is as much on the violence of colonial rule as well as its limitations; the role of different groups (not only European) in shaping the course of colonial relationships, and the changes that it brought into the lives of people both in the colonies and the metropolis.

III. The End of Empire?

We will examine the processes by which colonial rule as an administrative and political system of relationships came to an end. This takes us into the various forms of contestation of colonial rule in different parts of the Continent and by diverse groups of people, like labor unions, women's groups, religious movements, peasant rebellions and political parties. The question that we will raise is despite the official end of colonialism, how is its past shaping the present social realities for people.

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Assigned Readings
  • Frederick Cooper, "Conflict and Connection: Rethinking Colonial African History, American Historical Review 99 (1994): 1516-1545.

  • Ali Mazrui and Michael Tidy, "The Ghanaian Revolution," in Nationalism and New States in Africa (London: Heinemann, 1984): 56-65.

  • John Kenneth Noyes, "The Natives and their Places: 'Ethnographic Cartography' and the Representation of Autonomous Spaces in Ovamboland, German South West Africa," History and Anthropology 8 (1994): 237-264.

OPTIONAL: Suggested as an Example of Primary Data

  • Edmund Gilbert and R. Steel, "Social Geography and its Place in Colonial Studies: British Africa," Geographical Journal 106 (1945): 118-131.

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Digital Resources

Image Gallery I

Image Gallery II

Cape Coast Archive

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