SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2L324780
Module Leader Naveed Hakeem
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

In this module, students will engage with Africa as both a geographic reality and an ideological, social, economic and political construct. Through an examination of Africa from perspectives originating outside of continental borders, students will explore the interlinkages of perception, imagination, and actualization across sectors and using the tools of multiple disciplines. Through the module, students will gain an understanding of different models of engagement with Africa, starting with trade and navigation before European colonization and before "Africa" as a construct was socially and politically established. They will then briefly consider the process of European colonization and its linkages to resource extraction and thereby the Industrial revolution. This will be placed in dialogue with relationships across other bodies of water and how they have changed over time i.e. the North and South Atlantic (the Americas), the Red Sea (Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East), and the Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean islands, South Asia, East Asia and Australasia). Through these discussions, students will engage with questions about relationships with the various diaspora groups and the effects of these interactions on the construction of the concept of "Africa". Finally, they will examine how these relationships across bodies of water shaped later interactions with other regions of the world.


Week 1: Heart of Darkness This week we consider how an idea of 'Africa' was established in Western imagination that has profoundly shaped how the continent has been perceived, both externally and internally. Week 2: Land and Water In our considerations of Africa, changing the perspective to one that is oceanographic instead of territorial begins to engage deep histories of exchange with regions outside of Europe. Week 3: Africa and Arabia African engagement with the so-called Arab world has been a reality for centuries. This week, we begin to consider these exchanges and how they influenced and continue to influence both economic markets and cultural life. Week 4: Africa and the Indian Ocean Engagement with Mauritius and Refanion as contested sites both central to and peripheral to understandings of Africa. Deepening of engagement with (African) nationalisms and (Indian) diaspora populations. Analysis of labour and extraction through labour in world systems. Week 5: Lusophone Africa Understanding of World Systems from Lusophone perspective. Engagement with South Atlantic studies. Beginning to unpack impact of post-socialist period in Africa. Week 6: Francophone Africa Understanding of notion of Francophonie. Analysis of post-Empire economic systems. Engagement with French theory. Week 7: Anglophone Africa Understanding of Anglophone African networks. Awareness of the role played by World War 2 towards African independence. Exploration of militarism and masculinity in British colonial and post-colonial contexts. Week 8: Diasporas Understanding of 'diaspora' in theory and practice. Engagement with contributions of diaspora populations to home countries. Untangling of language around diaspora, immigrant, expatriate, etc. Week 9: Africa and India Exploration of India's connections to Africa and how these are linked to economies of empire. Exploration of Africans of Indian descent and the contributions they make to cultural life in various contexts. Analysis of contemporary trade between Africa and India, and contemporary diasporas. Week 10: Africa and China Explore impact of China's relationship with Africa at micro and macro level. Understand shifting global power structures as they pertain to the military industrial complex. Consider shifting understandings of race and power as it pertains to Africa's relationship with Asia. Week 11: Australia and New Zealand Recognition of impact that historic timing had on the way Africa was colonized, in part through comparative engagement with Australia, New Zealand and the US. Insight into changing notions of 'savage' and 'civilized.' Week 12: Revision Bring together course content. Re-engage the idea of the 'invention of Africa'.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1). Engage 'Africa' as both a geographic reality and a construct of imaginative and political processes that have emerged over time and are subject to change. 2). Discuss Africa's global relationships, attending to dynamics between former colonizing powers but also recognizing deep historical engagements with other parts of the world. Articulate the role that various African states have played and continue to play in international governance, health, development, law, and beyond. 3). Engage migration to and from Africa from the lens of the 'global South,' complicating mainstream narratives of push and pull factors for human movement. 4). Consider how Africa-based cultures have been shaped on one hand by the histories of engagement with Non-European entities, local trade, religious exchange, etc. and on the other by the "capturing" of culture by European-based media, anthropology, and political decisions.5). Explore and analyse the truths and limits of so-called 'African specificity' when it comes to economic growth, political stability, social security, and education. 6). Articulate other regions' contribution to African events and developments.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module features weekly class sessions that require preparation and follow-up applications afterwards. Pre-class preparation will introduce students to the main content for the week and require students to engage with key texts and other resources in an effort to build a foundational understanding of the concepts. Class sessions aim to clarify understanding and allow for clarification and questioning of major concepts and application of concepts to specific case studies. Finally, follow-up applications will require students to examine the week's topic with regard to their home countries/countries of interest, with particular focus on the how concepts discussed manifest themselves in diverse contexts.

Indicative Reading

Abu-Lughod, J. (1990). Before European hegemony. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Alden, C. and Alves, C. (2008). History & Identity in the Construction of China's Africa Policy. Review of African Political Economy, 35(115), pp.43-58. Ahuma, Atoah. (1971) The Gold Coast Nation and National Consciousness Bentley, J. (1993). Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Davis, M. (2002). Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nif1o Famines and the Making of the Third World. 1st ed. London: Verso. Diop, Cheikh Anta (1989) The African Origin of Civilization London: Mercer Ho, Engseng (2006) The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Movement Across the Indian Ocean Berkeley: University of California Press James, C.L.R. (1963) The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage. Kearney, M. (2004). The Indian Ocean in world history. 1st ed. New York, NY: Routledge. Lewis, M. and Wigen, K. (1997). The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography. 1st ed. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Lowe, L. (2015). The intimacies of four continents. 1st ed. Durham: Duke University Press. McClintock, Anne (1995) Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest New York: Routledge

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: -360b7 Carrying out assignments and effectively organising time b7 Developing written and oral communication skills b7 Enhancing IT skills b7 Enhancing critical thinking and analytical skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 124.00
Seminars (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Essay - 2000 words
Course Work 02 0.25 50.00 35% Podcast/Video - approx. 15mins