nl en

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. To this end we will also visit two museums in Brussels, the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren and the House of European History.

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. Apart from about Africa and Europe, the class is also about sources, understanding what the added value of academic sources can be and how we can use these sources to write for a general audience, such as on Wikipedia. Using the format of a Wikipedia article as the final assignment will also allow you to gain a greater understanding of how Wikipedia articles come about and what it means to write a good Wikipedia article. This is meant to loop back into your general academic practice and improve how you scrutinize information you find through Google and on Wikipedia.

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 find and use academic sources, set up an academic research project and write about it for Wikipedia.

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

  • acquire cognitive research skills, in analysis, project based working and in digital skills.
    have developed your interpersonal skills through: collaborating with your fellow students, by practicing oral and written communication skills and through constant reflection on societal developments you will further develop your societal awareness.

  • develop your intrapersonal skills such as reflecting on your and others’ position in debates, through independent learning and resilience.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

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 participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • 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.