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Africa Imagined: Visions of a Continent, 1600-2000


Module description

This module seeks to introduce you to the changing European image of Africa from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Rather than a course in African history, it is a course on the history of European understandings of the African continent, its peoples and its landscapes as they changed through different stages of Europe's entanglement with Africa: exploration, trade, imperial expansion, colonial conquest, colonial rule and decolonisation.

The module begins with European travellers' and colonists' perceptions of the Khoesan at the Cape in the seventeenth century and concludes with a consideration of the representation of African societies in the mass media in the mid-twentieth century. Discrete themes are tackled each week and are explored through a study of contemporary literature, ethnography, traveller's accounts, visual representations, journalism. Whilst the emphasis is on British Africa, you are expected to develop a comparative perspective on Dutch, French and British perceptions of Africa.