HIST 2542 The Making of Contemporary Africa (also ASRC 2542) (HA-AS)(HNU)(HGS)
Tuesday and Thursday: 2:55-4:10
Professor Judith Byfield
Most people learn about Africa through the media. However, media critics note that coverage is disproportionately skewed toward negative stories - poverty, war and corruption. While these factors are a reality for too many people on the continent, media observers note that too often the coverage lacks context and breadth. Furthermore, media outlets do not report positive developments even where they exist. This course will provide some of the depth and context necessary to understand events in contemporary Africa. The first two-thirds of the course will examine African social and economic history since the nineteenth century - Africa’s integration in the international economy, the rise of new social classes, the creation of the colonial state and the post-colonial state. Our primary examples will be drawn from East, West and Southern Africa to highlight both the similarities and differences of their historical development. The final third of the course will examine several contemporary issues in which scholars and journalists have attempted to address the weaknesses in general press coverage.