History of European colonialism from the 1750s to the present, with an emphasis on British and French colonial encounters. Offered: jointly with HSTEU 484.
From Columbus’ voyages to the New World in the late fifteenth century to the era of decolonization in the 1960s, Europeans and the peoples they colonized were engaged in a vast project – often an extremely violent one – of trying and failing to make sense of one another. This course offers an opportunity to study the history of encounters between Europe and its colonies in a variety of geographical contexts. We will focus on a comparative analysis of British and French colonial encounters from the mid-eighteenth century to the twentieth, but will refer to Spanish, Dutch, and German colonial histories as well as to earlier incarnations of colonial encounters. The course will proceed chronologically and thematically, considering the impact of colonial science, law, sexuality, education, and economy on European identity and politics and, more broadly, on the trajectory of global history.
Readings will include works by Oloudah Equiano, Charles Darwin, George Orwell, Frantz Fanon, and M.K. Gandhi. We will also watch a number of films that deal with colonial themes. These films will be shown during our regular class meetings and will include Pontecorvo's Battle of Algiers, Ousmane Sembene's La Noire/Black Girl, Edmond Greville's Princesse Tam Tam, and Matthieu Kassovitz's La Haine/Hate.
This is a "W" course.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Combination of lecture and discussion
No prerequisites; some background in European history is helpful, but not necessary
Class assignments and grading
2 exams (midterm and final); 2 papers
Exams and papers, plus participation in discussion