13177cHU Seminar

SoSe 19: Colonialism and Agriculture in Africa: Between Local Practices and Global Commodities

Samuel Coghe


This seminar explores the impact of colonialism on agriculture and food production in Africa from a global perspective. Starting with the introduction of new staple foods such as manioc and maize from the Americas during the so-called Columbian exchange in the 16th century, it focuses on the colonial era between the 1870s and 1970s. We will analyse how, oscillating between the imperatives of cash crop production and food security, colonial rule tried to change the modes of agricultural production (labour forms, land ownership, gender roles, etc.), thus engendering new divisions and conflicts. We will pay particular attention to the role of (agricultural, veterinary, nutritional, soil, etc.) science in these transformation efforts and their effects on the environment. We will foreground African agency and the uneven results of these transformation processes. While, in some areas, colonial rule led to the production and export of global agricultural commodities, in others, local practices and consumption patterns persisted virtually unaltered throughout most of the colonial era. close

Subjects A - Z