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Africa and Europe: Entangled Pasts and Presents


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor's programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


Migration, trade, military intervention; relations between Africa and Europe are making the headlines. In this course we will examine the histories of relations between Africa and Europe since the early 20th century to the present. We will analyse the interaction from both African and European perspectives and see how this entanglement plays out in relation to (geo)politics, economics, migration and culture. We will also consider the representation of these perspectives in society. Excursions to examine these representations in society, for example to museums, will be part of the course.

While the title of the course suggests a continent-wide approach, and while there are commonalities between the countries and regions within Africa and within Europe, significant differences exist as well. These differences can be present on many levels. We will therefore not just focus on a continental, or an institutional approach (European Union, African Union etc.), but use a number of different units of analysis and for example examine relations between Africa and Europe on more individual levels as well.
Course materials include academic texts, contemporary pamphlets, blogs, videos, podcasts and exhibitions.

Course objectives

After completing this course you will:

  • have acquired knowledge about and insights in:
    The relationship between the EU and Africa from a number of angles,
    The question of positionality when conducting research or enaging in public debate.

  • be familiar with approaches from international relations/European Union Studies and political, economic, cultural and migration history.

  • be able to set up an academic research project and write about it for a number of different types of outlets.

  • have acquired some familiarity with using different forms of representation (written/visual/audio).

  • In this course you will acquire cognitive research skills, in analysis, project based working and in digital skills.

  • It will also address interpersonal skills since you will collaborate with your fellow students on small assignments in class or before class, you will practice your oral communication skills in class and your written communication skills in the two assignments. The topic of this course requires a constant reflection on societal developments and thus you will further develop your societal awareness.

  • Finally, the course addresses interpersonal skills such as reflecting on your and others’ position in debates, through independent learning and resilience.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Humanities Lab courses are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.30 to 17h.
The compulsory excursion to Brussels will take place on Saturday 27 May.

Mode of instruction

  • (Guest)Lectures

  • Seminars (group work, discussions and presentations)

  • Excursions to the Africa Museum in Tervuren and House of European History in Brussels. This compulsory excursion will take place on 27 May.

Assessment method

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the assessment parts.
If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the final research paper. Contact the course lecturer for more information.


  • Active participation

  • Assignment

  • Final Assignment


  • Active participation: 30%

  • Assignment: 20%

  • Final Assignment: 50%


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the Humanities Lab coordinators in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the final research paper. Contact the course lecturer for more information.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

For each session specific chapters of books or articles will be assigned in the syllabus.


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered in MyStudymap by the administration of the Humanities Lab. Students register for the Humanities Lab modules through an online form, more information will be provided by Umail.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.