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Seminar in African History: Conceptualisations and Practices of Peace in Post-Colonial Africa

Vak 2014-2015

Admission requirements

MA-students

Description

The recent history of sub-Saharan Africa has been volatile and many societies and regions have experienced violent conflict. In this course we will study how international actors as well as African actors have responded to conflict and violence on the African continent, and how they have strived to create a peaceful living environment. In the most minimal sense, peace can be understood as the mere absence of violent conflict. However, more comprehensive understandings of what peace means and should entail include a variety of international norms and local aspirations which often evolve around concepts such as freedom, human rights, justice, economic progress, culture and welfare. This course focuses on how different historic and political contexts have shaped conceptualisations of peace in Africa, and what practices have been and are being used by actors to achieve peace. Outside actors, such as UN missions and international development organisations, have in recent years become more and more involved in peace making, peace keeping and peace building in Africa. However, although international assistance is often an important contribution to peace processes, outsiders cannot build peace on their own. While considering the international normative nature of the concept of peace, the emphasis in this course will be on how Africans have engaged with peace and have given it meaning in the context of the struggles of their daily lives, and on how they have translated this into peace building practices.
The students will study theoretical and empirical literature on the course topic, and will work on their independent research paper on a country case study for which they will research both secondary and primary sources.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations and its historiography specifically histories of peace in post-colonial Africa. The course will equip students with an indepth understanding of the history of peace in Africa and on how the meaning of peace is not norm free and universal. It will enable the students to critically reflect on how peace has been defined by various local as well as international actors, and on how these definitions have been shaped by historical, political, cultural and other contextual factors.
  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation, more specifically histories of peace in post-colonial Africa
  • Comprehension of how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes of identity and state formation; hence insight in cross-cultural processes (including the infrastructure of shipping and other modes of communication) that affect regions across the world such as imperialism, colonisation, islamisation, modernisation and globalization (in particular during the period 1200-1940);
  • Empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective;

Students will acquire/improve the following skills:

  • The ability to independently identify and select sources
  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question
  • The ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument
  • The ability to interpret a corpus of sources

Extra course objectives for Res Master Students:

  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources
  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates
  • Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation

Timetable

Collegerooster

Mode of instruction

Seminar

Course Load

Total: 280 hours

  • Writing paper: 98 hours.
  • Attendence: 28 hours.
  • Preparing for class/reading literature: 48 hours.
  • Preparing presentations: 16 hours.
  • Research: 90 hours

Assessment method

  1. A final research paper (70%) demonstrating the following skills:
  • In-depth understanding of histories of peace in post-colonial Africa, and the ability to critically reflect on local and international norms of peace and their historical, political and/or cultural contexts.
  • The ability to independently identify and select literature
  • The ability to give a clear written report of the research results in English.
  • The ability to link case study material to theoretical debates on peace and historiography of peace
  • The ability to independently identify and select a variety of sources
  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question
  • The ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument
  • The ability to interpret a corpus of sources

Additional requirements for the ResMa students:

  • The paper has to be based on more extensive archival research or research based on primary sources.
    The student has to show (especially in the paper) innovative insights;
  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources
  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates
  • Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation
  1. Two Presentations (10% each), demonstrating the following skills:
  • The ability to develop a clear, focused and feasible research project
  • The ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English
  • The ability to link research results to academic debates
  • The abilitiy to apply source criticism

Additional requirements for Res Master students:

  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources
  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates
  • Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation
  1. Participation in class discussion (10%), demonstrating the following skills:
  • Active participation in the discussion of the literature and the work in progress of other students.
  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the above assessments with the additional requirement that the final research paper has to be sufficient.

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for this course:
• Information on course content
• Submission of written work

Reading list

A list of reading materials for each class will be made available to the students before the first class.

Registration

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Register via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not possible

Contact

Mw. Dr. M.J. de Goede