Thursday, January 12, 2012

Introduction to African Studies - Winter 2012

Introduction to African Studies

INTL/BST 211 / UNST 233

(Africana, Africa and Black Studies from an Afrocentric Perspective)

Instructor: Tugrul Keskin

Office: 333 East Hall International Studies

Cell Phone: 202-378-8606

Office Hours: Tuesday 1:00 - 4:00 PM or by appointment

E-mail: (PLEASE include “African Studies” in the subject line)

Mentor: Murna Majam (Moornah) - E-mail:

When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.
— Jomo Kenyatta

It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else.

— Kwame Nkrumah

Course Description and Objective:

In this course, we will try to understand the social, political and economic implications and dimensions of imperialism in 20th century Africa. Ethnic tensions in Kenya, Apartheid racism in South Africa, the Darfur conflict in Sudan, Christian and Muslim religious misunderstanding in Nigeria, and the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda are each related with exploitation and a product of colonialization, which has created artificial social, political and economic boundaries among African communities and societies. Whatever conflict we see today in the continent is not because Africans are not capable of enhancing African civilization, but are a product of the colonial political social and economic structures left behind by the colonizers and internalized within Africa.

Africa is a continent that can be characterized by the human sadness, colonialization and hegemony by Western powers, slavery, genocide and poverty which is demonstrated very clearly in Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, The White Men’s Burden. According to some perspectives, even the etymological meaning of ‘Africa’ does not originate from this continent, but is a term created from the outside, by the Romans. The Romans used this term to define the early Berber tribes in Tunisia. According to some social scientists, Berbers are not even from Africa. This orientalist approach goes back many centuries. In this context, the history of Africa does not belong to African Natives and definitely has not been created by African society/societies, but belongs to the colonizer/rulers and attributable to the history of this “dark” continent. It is a history written by the hegemonic powers of Western Imperialism.

In this course, we will explore the social, political and economic consequences of colonialism in Africa and the reaction by the African leadership to this intentional imperialism and enslavement of its people. The 20th century marks the emergence of the nation-state and the history of nation building, but not in Africa. Africa was never involved in a process of internal modernization and urbanization parallel to that found in other parts of the world. Africans still hold to their tribal identity and follow traditional ways of life and have never owned a national identity per se, like that of other independent nationalist movements.

African borders were drawn in order to sustain and intensify tribal and ethnic conflict in order to further the exploitation of social, political and economic resources, and to facilitate modern slavery in the 20th century. The rule of divide and conquer is very much demonstrated in the history of this continent, and African leadership has partly failed to resist the ongoing implications of this early enslavement. In summary, we will explore the continuation of early power structures laid in place by the dynamics between the colonizer and colonized that have continued in Africa to this day as a consequence of capitalist expansion and globalization. This is the case even though there is no colonial power in existence now as there was half a century ago. For example, genocide in Rwanda took place in 1994 as a result of tribal ethnic conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis. Before and during the genocide, there was no colonial power in Rwanda, however the colonial structures and mentality left in place by the colonial powers indirectly resulted in mass killing in Rwanda. We can find many such examples in African history that resulted in either genocide and tribal war or Apartheid. In South Africa for example, the white minority ruled the majority and thus a segregated society was created.

In this course, we attempt to explore social, political and economic consequences of European colonialism in Africa after the Berlin conference. This course is not about learning Africa, but instead, focuses on what Africa can teach us!

Required Reading:

  • Basil Davidson. Modern Africa: A Social and Political History. Longman | Published: 04/06/1995
    ISBN-10: 058221288X | ISBN-13: 9780582212886


  • Franz Fanon. Toward the African Revolution. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1964.

Other Readings will be posted on D2L and you will find them under the course documents.

Recommended Documentaries:

· On Orientalism-Edward Said

· General Idi Amin Dada (A self Portrait) by Barbet Schroeder

· Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death (2006)

Recommended Movies:

· Lion of the Desert (1981)

· Catch a Fire (2007)

· Masai: The Rain Warriors (2004)

· Bamako (2005)

· Lumumba (2000)



Some African Leaders:

Jomo Kenyatta (1889 - 1978)

C L R James 1901-1988

George Padmore 1902-1959

Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972)

Govan Mbeki (1910-2001)

Nelson Mandela (1918-)

Brian Bunting (1920- )

Baruch Hirson (1921-1999)

Julius Nyerere (1922-1999)

Agostinho Neto (1922-1979)

Amilcar Cabral (1924-1973)

Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)

Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961)

Joe Slovo (1926-1995)

Walter Rodney (1942-1980)

Julius Malema (1981-)

Course Requirements

To prevent confusion later, please read the following information:

Weekly Quizzes: The quizzes will determine what you have learned in class each week. I will ask you 10 questions regarding the same week’s class subject and discussion.

Two Short Papers: Two short papers 2000 words each, excluding bibliography. You must provide a word count at the end of your paper. Papers are due in class on the day specified in the syllabus. While the students are not required to draw on sources beyond those studied for this course, they must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the reading material and class discussions.

Newspaper Articles: During the semester, you will bring in five newspaper articles related with our class subjects. You cannot bring more than one article per week. You will have to summarize these articles in class. You will find the recommended newspapers on Blackboard under the external links section.

Final Exam: The final exam will be online. You will take the final exam on Sunday, March 18th, between 8:00 and 10 PM. I will ask you 40 multiple-choice questions. You will have 2 hours to finish the final exam. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible.

Attendance: Regular class attendance is one of the important parameters to successful completion of the course requirements.

Participation: Each student must read course material before they attend class and I expect them to participate in class discussion.

Coming late to class: Late comers will not be accepted to class, so be on time. If you are late for a class, please do not disturb your classmates and me and do not come at all. Please also do not send an email or call me regarding your class attendance. If there is a medical need, bring a letter from a doctor. Whatever the reason is, if you cannot come to class, this is your responsibility. If you miss more than 4 classes, you will not receive an attendance grade.

Laptop and cell phone policy: If you need your laptop in class to take notes, please let me know. Otherwise I will assume that you are surfing the Internet during my lectures. Please turn your cell phone off before you come to class. If you use the Internet or your cell phone during class, you will be asked to leave.

Grades: Your grade for this course will be based on your performance on the following components, shown with their dates and respective weights.

Item Date Weight (%)

6 Quizzes (In Class) Monday 30.0

2 Short Papers Feb. 12 and March 9 30.0

Final Exam March 18th 20.0

Attendance 5.0

Newspaper Articles 5.0

Mentor Session 10.0

The grading system in this class is as follows:

A 95-100

A- 90-94

B+ 86-89

B 85

B- 80-84

C+ 76-79

C 75

C- 70-74

D+ 66-69

D 65

D- 60-64

F (Failure)

Disabilities: Please let me know if you have any disabilities relevant to your involvement in this class, so that I can make appropriate adjustments. Contact Disability Resource Center at Portland State University 435 Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 - Phone: (503) 725-4150 - Fax: (503) 725-4103 - TTY or Relay: (503) 725-6504. Email:, if you think you may have a class related disability for which you need counseling and certification. Following is the link to the Disability Resource Center, and all related matters will be kept in strict confidence:

PSU Student Code of Conduct: I will enforce the Student Code of Conduct strictly in this course. Be familiar with it. Unless specifically stated otherwise, you should complete any work for this course without assistance from others. Cheating, plagiarism, falsifications and attempts at any of these acts in connection with any work for this course are violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

(2) All forms of academic dishonesty, cheating, and fraud, including but not limited to: (a) plagiarism, which includes, but is not limited to, word for word copying, using borrowed words or phrases from original text into new patterns without attribution, or paraphrasing another writer's ideas; (b) The buying and selling of all or any portion of course assignments and research papers; (c) Performing academic assignments (including tests and examinations) for other persons; (d) Unauthorized disclosure and receipt of academic information; and (e) Falsification of research data.

Additional Remarks: If you have difficulty with the course, please schedule a time to discuss your concerns with me, to help you get back on track.

Portland State University academic calendar:

Course Timeline

First Week January 9 - 13

· An overview of the syllabus

· What is Orientalism?

· A great scholar: Edward Said

· Uzodinma Iweala (2007) Stop Trying To ‘Save’ Africa. The Washington Post, 15 July, p.B07.

· Ali A. Mazrui (2005) Re-invention of Africa: Edward Said, V. Y. Mudimbe and Beyond. Research in African Literatures 36(3): 68-82.

· Mervat Hatem (2009) Africa on My Mind. International Journal of Middle East Studies. 41: 189-192.

  • Rudyard Kipling, The White Man's Burden (1899)
  • Edward Morel, The Black Man's Burden (1903)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Second Week January 16 - 20

  • Chapter-1 The Early Years of the Twentieth Century (Modern Africa)
  • The Problem of colonized (Toward the African Revolution by Franz Fanon)
  • Racism and culture (Toward the African Revolution by Franz Fanon)

· Helmi Sharawy, Frantz Fanon and the African revolution, revisited at a time of globalization

· Edward Said, Orientalism Once More. Development and Change 35(5): 869–879 (2004).

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Third Week January 23 - 27

  • Chapter-2 Colonial Africa: to 1930 (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-3 African Responses: to 1930 (Modern Africa)
  • For Algeria (Toward the African Revolution by Franz Fanon)
  • Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of imperialism (D2L)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 1 (In class) January 23

Fourth Week January 30 – February 3

  • Chapter-4 Key Ideas for Progress (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-5 Colonial System and the Great Depression (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-6 The Second World War, 1939-1945 (Modern Africa)
  • Toward the liberation of Africa (Toward the African Revolution by Franz Fanon)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 2 (In class) January 30

Fifth Week February 6 - 10

  • Chapter-7 Towards African Politics (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-8 Colonialism in Crises (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-9 The Conditions of Decolonization (Modern Africa)
  • African Unity (Toward the African Revolution by Franz Fanon)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 3 (In class) February 6

Sixth Week February 13 – 17

  • Chapter-10 Raising National Flags: North-East Africa (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-11 Libya and Maghrib (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-12 South of the Sahara: French Colonies (Modern Africa)
  • The Heart of Africa: Interview with Julius Nyerere on Anti-Colonialism (D2L)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 4 (In class) February 13

Short Paper - 1 / Sunday February 12

Seventh Week February 20 - 24

  • Chapter-13 British West Africa: (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-14 East and Central Africa: British Settler Colonies (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-15 In Other Empires: Belgian, Portuguese, Spanish (Modern Africa)
  • Amilcar Cabral, The Weapon of Theory (1966) (D2L)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 5 (In class) February 20

Eighth Week February 27 – March 2

  • Chapter-16 The 1980s: Unfinished Business (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-17 History Begins A New (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-18 Questions About National Stability (Modern Africa)
  • Julius Nyerere, Good Governance for Africa (1998)

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Quiz – 6 (In class) February 27

Ninth Week March 5 - 9

  • Chapter-19 Questions About Development (Modern Africa)
  • Chapter-20 Questions About Unity

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Short Paper - 2 / March 9

Tenth Week March 12 - 16

  • Chapter-21 Towards Africa’s Reconstruction: Summary and Overview (Modern Africa)
  • Robert D. Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy (1994)
  • Peace Corps, New-Colonialism and Africa

MENTOR SESSION: Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973)

Short Paper -2 / Novel Presentations


Sunday – March 18th

Between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM

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