Image: The Scramble for Africa by Yinka Shonibare


Convener: Dr B Kar

Course entry requirements: HST2040F or HST2041F and any other 2000-level HST major courses, or by permission of the Head of Department.

This course aims at equipping the undergraduate students with a critical understanding of a broad range of complex and diverse intellectual traditions in modern African worlds of thought. Its emphasis is on debates and arguments, conversations and contestations, connections and displacements. In contrast to an essentialized and unitary notion of African thought, this course emphasizes the plural and dynamic worlds of African intellectuality, drawing particular attention to the vibrant histories of critiques and auto-critiques. In doing so, it also provides a basic sense of the various historical contexts of continental and diasporic activism in which these intellectual approaches were formulated and discussed. Among other themes, we engage the debates on and around decolonization and violence, nationalism and tribalism, afro-communism and afro-feminism, precolonial epistemologies and customary law, aesthetics and materiality, religion and pedagogy, and postcolonial and neoliberal conditions. The study materials used in this course include original texts by African thinkers, visual sources, and musical compositions.