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Society and Politics in Southern Africa

Module Convenor: Professor David M Anderson David AndersonLink opens in a new window

Room: FAB3.47

This 30 CATS option module examines the history of southern Africa from the nineteenth century to the present, engaging with a range of approaches in history and the social sciences. The course spans pre-colonial, colonial and independent southern African societies and is structured around four themes which are central to the history and historiography of this region: labour and migration; urbanization and urban life; family life and domestic struggles; and political movements and protest. Structured around these four key themes, seminars will combine chronological and thematic coverage with focused analysis of the lives of individual men, women and children. We will examine social life, economies, culture and politics from the level of the household to the national and regional level, using secondary sources and a range of primary sources, including government documents, memoirs, novels, ethnography and the reports of international and non-governmental organisations. Central to our analysis will be consideration of how key social categories and identities, including race, ethnicity, gender and age, have been constructed and challenged over time in the region and how these factors intersected and shaped social life, culture, politics and economics. This module engages with classic and cutting-edge scholarship in southern African studies and will provide students with the skills and opportunity to engage in independent research in the field of African history.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a firm understanding of the history of society and politics in C19th and C20th southern Africa
  • Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse a broad range of primary sources relating to southern African history
    and the experiences and perspectives of men, women and children in the southern African past.
  • Demonstrate enhanced study, writing, and communication skills – both orally and in written work - about how
    ideologies and practices surrounding race, ethnicity, gender and age have been constructed and challenged
    over time in C19th and C20th southern Africa.
  • Exhibit a capacity for independent study skills, working to a deadline to concisely present complex ideas and
    arguments relating to the study of southern Africa.