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School of History

HST5359 - Freedom and Nationhood: The State in Post-Colonial Africa, 1956 - 2006

Module code: HST5359

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Reuben Loffman

In 1956, the Sudan became the first sub-Saharan African nation to become independent of European rule. Shortly afterwards, many others joined the community of nations. Now, over fifty years later, historians have begun to examine how these states have fared. After the euphoria that greeted African independence, many scholars now see African states as having dramatically failed their citizenry, with their failure contributing to the emigration of millions of Africans from the continent in the last decade alone. But African leaders and their followers have had to cope with devastating droughts, outside financial interference and environmental disasters. And Africans have also developed innovative ways of coping with and even challenging hostile or collapsed states. To explore the complex history of African polities, this module situates the post-colonial state in its social context and uses several case studies, such as the Sudan, Congo-Kinshasa, Ghana and Guinea, to examine it from a range of perspectives. We will look at how warfare, disease and financial concerns, among others, have shaped post-colonial statehood in Africa and how Africans have responded to the policies their states have pursued.

Assessment: Blog Entry (1,000 words) 35% and Essay (3,000 words) 65%
Level: 5