Modern African History
Modern African History, explores the history of Africa from the decline of the Atlantic slave trade, in the early nineteenth century, to the present. Our goal is to examine the historical roots of the continent's present condition. We will look at the slave trade and its consequences, the growth of African states, the spread of Islam, the European conquest of most of the African continent, African responses to colonial rule, and the reestablishment of African independence.
We will concentrate on three regions: West Africa, especially Nigeria; Central Africa, especially Congo and Rwanda; Ethiopia, in northeast Africa; and southern Africa, with an emphasis on South Africa. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which colonialism affected ordinary Africans and to the strategies that Africans employed to resist, subvert, and accommodate European domination.
We will especially be interested in the ways that Africans used photography -- a new and powerful expressive tool in the 19th and 20th centuries -- to define themselves. We will also look at the ways in which the attitudes of the colonizers was reflected in the photos that they made of Africans.
HIAF 2002 is an introductory course and assumes no prior knowledge of African history.