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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Vicente L. Rafael
HIST 490
Seattle Campus

Topics in History

Examines special topics in history.

Class description

Topic: Comparative Colonialism

What is colonialism and how does it historically come about? How is the practice of comparison related to colonial histories? In what ways are questions about authority–for example, the narrative authority to impose one’s stories and the political authority to impose one’s will-- repeatedly raised in Western encounters with non-Western peoples? Indeed, in the wake of colonialism and in an era of globalization, do these categories “Western” and “non-Western” still make sense? What role does nationalism play in determining the limits and possibilities of colonial rule? How is nationalism related to cosmopolitanism as twin alternatives to imperial domination? In addressing these questions, this course will examine a variety of historical, ethnographic and cinematic productions set in colonial contexts ranging from the Americas to Asia and Africa. In doing so, the course will treat colonialism as a world historical event whose effects continue to be felt and whose power needs to be addressed.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The class will consist of lectures, discussions and films.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Readings, one mid-term exam, and one final exam, each worth 50% of the grade.

Mid-term and final exams.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Vicente L. Rafael
Date: 01/21/2006