WiSe 14/15: Issues of postcolonial transformation in Africa: Nationalism, Statehood, Violence & Public Life
Anne-Sophie Reichert; Gabriel Schimmeroth
Over the last three decades, postcolonial perspectives have gained much attention in public and academic discourse. In the analysis of the entanglements between the former colonizing and colonized ... read more
Over the last three decades, postcolonial perspectives have gained much attention in public and academic discourse. In the analysis of the entanglements between the former colonizing and colonized people, transnational perspectives became indispensable especially in Africa. This transnational exchange is not limited to relations between Europe and Africa, but is equally tied into local, regional and global contexts.
In this class we follow two goals. Firstly, the class provides an introduction to aspects of postcolonial development in Africa using the example of five case studies from different parts of the continent. Secondly, it seeks to familiarize students with different concepts and methods of analysis in order to frame and study these social, economic and political phenomena.
After the first two sessions, which will give an introduction into fairly recent postcolonial literature, the class is structured in double-sessions. For each double-session, we will devote the first week to studying and discussing theoretical foundations, e.g. nationalism, state building, or violence. In the following week we will try to bring our theoretical foundations into conversation with historical and anthropological readings as well as sources on the respective cases. Although the class is structured around national case studies, we will study the respective examples within the given transnational entanglements.
Furthermore, the class will actively contextualize and analyze the different readings with respect to their origins, motivations, histories and rhetoric. We will explore how the various readings, which cut across History, Anthropology and Political Science frame their objects of study differently: What are the sources for an anthropological study and what are the sources for a political analysis? How does a historical text make an argument in comparison to a journal article from a political science journal? What kind of "theory" do the anthropological and historical case studies provide and how does their perspective differ from the foundational-theoretical approaches? Which reading provides us with what kind of knowledge? From a historical perspective we might ask why certain readings have emerged at specific points of time and how we can understand them in their discursive and historical contexts.
In the end, this seminar should not only provide the students with a better understanding of postcolonial transformation in Africa, but also with an empirically grounded understanding of the chosen issues.