This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.
How can novels situated on steamships and in pubs in the centre of Africa serve as historic sources? What is the relationship between past European missionaries operating in Africa and current humanitarian organisations? Did crossing the Mediterranean fulfil colonisers and migrants’ dreams or did they instead encounter different nightmares? What can some of the metal in your laptops and mobile phones tell you about the relationship between Africa and Europe? There have always been connections between Europe and Africa whether real or imaginary. In this course, we study connectivity in expressions, movements, ideas, and resources since the late nineteenth century that are both historically and anthropologically situated. The concepts ‘connections/connectivity’ and ‘mobility/immobility’ form the theoretical and methodological backbone of this course. Research on connections and mobility is, because of the nature of the concepts, interdisciplinary. In this course the students are therefore invited to develop their own take on mixed methods. The empirical topics we discuss and that will help to understand the concepts vary from (post)colonialism to humanitarianism, from mining and money to football, and from travelling objects to boat refugees. We encourage and try to enable students to go beyond the traditional research paper format – if desired – by making films, podcasts and e-papers. To help facilitate this, the course includes trips to the Living Lab in The Hague and the African Studies Centre in Leiden and interaction with members of the Connecting in Times of Duress research project.
General learning objectives
The student has acquired:
1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;
2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;
3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;
6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;
7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;
8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;
10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.
Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation
11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;
-in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1600-2000, with a focus on (urban) networks (within and across borders);
-in the subspecialisation Economic History also: the origin and outcomes of the Great Divergence, developments in political economy since ca 1600, increasing global interdependence throughout the centuries, the development of global governance in the twentieth century, as well as the most important debates in recent Economic History.
-in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: 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 globalisation (in particular during the period 1200-1940).
12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:
-in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;
-in the subspecialisation Economic History also: the application of economic concepts, research methods or models; insight into the argumentation of current debates.
-in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective.
Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar
The student should be able to engage with:
13) The manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1750-present.
14) The interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;
15) Whether and how novels can be used for historically and anthropologically informed research.
16) (ResMA only) Has developed:
a. The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources;
b. The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates;
c. Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialization.
The timetable is available on the MA History website
Mode of instruction
Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours
Seminars: 28 hours
Presentations: 16 hours (2 x 8 hours)
Reading/listening/watching material for seminars: 140 hours (10 hours per week)
Book review: 16 hours
Writing paper/making documentary: 80 hours
Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography) or a documentary of a certain duration agreed with the course facilitators
Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 13-14
Measured learning objectives: 3-7, 13-15
Comparative literature review of two novels set in Africa
Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 13-15
Written paper: 60%
Oral presentation: 20% (2 x 10%)
Comparative literature review: 10%
Class participation: 10%
The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the main research project must always be sufficent.
Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the project is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.
How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be discussed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.
Blackboard will be used for:
Information will be provided via Blackboard
Students must upload certain assignments via Blackboard
All students must read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83. Besides these books we will mostly use articles that can be downloaded from the university library, and films and podcasts available online. The reading list will be distributed in advance of the first meeting via Blackboard.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
We encourage and try to enable students to go beyond the traditional research paper format – if desired – by instead making films, podcasts and e-papers. To help facilitate this, the course includes trips to the Living Lab in The Hague and the African Studies Centre in Leiden and interaction with members of the Connecting in Times of Duress research project.