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Africa History & Anthropology 3: The History of Ideas and Institutions in Africa


Admission requirements

African Languages and Culture Students should be in their third year of study.
History students should have successfully completed both second-year seminars, one of which is part of the same specialisation as the present third-year seminar.


African history and anthropology meet in the historic analysis of ideas and institutions. Institutions are here understood as institutionalized practices, as opposed to organisations and offices. The course concentrates on the basis of power and legitimacy in Africa, related to inequality and exclusion as well as inclusion. This concerns general social structures such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, as well as how power and legitimacy are materialized in slavery, witchcraft, religion and politics.

In this seminar several case studies where power contestation leads to social change or to interesting moments of tension are taken as departure points for discussions.

Central in this research seminar is students’ individual problem-oriented research on a topic of their choosing within the parameters of the course. Besides secondary literature, the students will work on self-identified primary source material for their case study (with historic sources or ethnographic material). Selecting primary sources and applying source critique will be an important aspect of the course.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

    1. devise and conduct research of limited scope, including:
      a. identifying relevant literature and select and order them according to a defined principle;
      b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information;
      c. an analysis of a scholarly debate;
      d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.
    1. write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the Themacolleges, including
      a. using a realistic schedule of work;
      b. formulating a research question and sub questions;
      c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
      d. giving and receiving feedback;
      e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.
    1. reflect on the primary sources on which the literature is based.
    1. select and use primary sources for their own research.
    1. analyse sources, place and interpret them in a historical context.
    1. participate in class discussions.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of
    • the place of African history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political and social institutions and ideas/ideologies;
    1. Knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically of:
    • the study of primary sources and the context specificity of nationally or regionally defined histories;
    • the combining of historiographical debates with empirical research of primary sources and/or the combining of various historiographical traditions through the use of innovative research questions.
  • Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar*

    1. knowledge and insight in the historiography and theory of historical-anthropology. Students having successfully completed this course will be equipped with the necessary analytical insights.


See Rooster Geschiedenis (in Dutch)

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total studyload: 10 EC x 28 hrs. = 280 hours

  • Participation in seminars: 13 X 2 hours = 26 hours

  • Preparation for the seminars (studying literature): 6 X 6 hours = 36 hours

  • Preparation for final presentation: 4 hours

  • Independent research and essay writing: 214 hours

Assessment method

*Written paper (ca. 7200 words, based on problem-oriented research using primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
Measured learning objectives: 1-5, 7-9 *Oral Presentation 1: Primary Sources
Measured leaning objectives: 2-5, 8 *Oral presentation 2: Own research
Measured learning objectives: 2-5, 7-9

  • Participation, preparation
    Measured learning objectives: 6

    *Assignment : Research plan
    Measured learning objectives: 1a, d, 2a, bWeighing
    Written paper: 65%
    Oral presentation 1 – primary sources: 10%
    Oral presentation 2 – own research: 10%
    Participation: 15%
    Research plan: 0% (no grade)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper as well as the participation must always be sufficient.

Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline

The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline


Students should register for this course on Blackboard. Admission requirements

A pass for introductory translation courses Dutch to English and English to Dutch. Alternatively, a pass for the entry test that the English Department will make available from June 2015. The Semester 1 course is offered only to students who are registered for the Translation in Theory and Practice specialization.


The aim of this advanced translation course is to familiarize you with the challenges that a translator faces in practice. Practice makes perfect, which is why the emphasis lies on discussing the translations that you have prepared at home and on doing translations that a professional translator may be expected to do, the texts covering a wide range of topics and registers. However, we will also make a link to translation theory and ask ourselves to what extent theory helps us solve practical problems.

Course objectives

  • Ability to translate a linguistically sophisticated, but non-specialist Dutch text into grammatically correct and stylistically appropriate English, and vice versa.

  • Understanding of the relationship between translation studies and the practice of translation and the ability to apply translation theory to practical problems.

Mode of instruction

One 90-minute tutorial per week and small-group peer-review tutorials.

Course Load

The total course load is 280 hours (10 EC), allocated as follows:

  • Tutorial attendance: 26 hours.

  • Study of literature: 26 hours.

  • Preparation of translations, annotated translations and peer reviews, and test preparation 125 hours.

  • Translation test: 3 hours.

Assessment method

  • Peer-review of an annotated translation and contributions to discussion in tutorial (20%).

  • Average mark of two of the translations handed in during the course (30%).

  • Translation test (D-E; E-D) 40%.

To pass the course, you need to have handed in electronic copies of all the translations in Blackboard before each tutorial. Marks will be subtracted for failure to hand in assignments.
You can resit the translation test and resubmit course translations if these are a fail. If you fail the peer-review and tutorial-discussion component you will be asked to write and defend an extra annotated translation.


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and make course materials available.

Reading list

Recommended reference tools:

  • Lemmens, M. & Parr, T. (2013). Handboek voor de Vertaler Nederlands-Engels (Praktische tips). Amsterdam: Intertaal.

  • Renkema, J. (2012). Schrijfwijzer. Amsterdam: Boom.

  • Swan, M. (2005). Practical English usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Van Dale groot woordenboek Engels (set) (2014). Utrecht: Van DaleLexicography.

  • Van Dale groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal (2015). Utrecht: Van Dale Lexicography.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Blackboard will be used for the submission of written work and for sharing course related information between lecturers and students

Reading list

  • Patrick Chabal (2009) Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling. London & New York: Zed.

  • A selection of articles


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


mr. Prof.dr. J.B. Gewald
ms. Dr. M.J. de Goede


Students wishing to follow this course would be advised to have succesfully completed the first or second year history subjects dealing with the introduction to African History