Harcourt Fuller, Ph.D.

HIST 8410 - Seminar in African History

This graduate seminar takes a geopolitical and regional approach to understanding the nature of African international history from the Scramble for Africa (1884/5) to the present. We will examine some of the major historical, economic, political, and socio-cultural forces that have put West-Central Africa at the forefront of international affairs, contrary to the notions of African marginality espoused in academia and the popular press.

​Weekly discussions will examine the acceleration of (West-Central) African contacts with Europe during the colonial incursions on the continent in the late 19th century; West African participation in and the impacts of the First and Second World Wars; the socio-economic changes in West Africa during the Great Depression; anti-colonial nationalist movements in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone West Africa; the challenges of the post-independence state; the Cold War in West-Central Africa and the region’s involvement in international movements and blocs such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Third World/Global South; Pan-African Nationalism; US-West African relations and Chinese relations with West Africa. We will end the seminar by examining how West African popular culture, particularly its music and more recently its film industry (Nollywood), have made a notable impact on the continent at large as well as the world.

​In addition to the writings of some of the main political protagonists in West Africa’s international history such as Kwame Nkrumah, we will utilize several books, journal articles and audio-visual sources from leading Africanist and African scholars including Adu Boahen and Toyin Falola. Moreover, our case studies will include the Democratic Republic of Congo/Zaire, the Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, Liberia, the Gold Coast/Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and the West African Diaspora in Europe, the Americas and China.

Required Books
Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah. (Panaf Books, 1957). ISBN-10: ISBN 0 901787 34 5.

Kevin Gaines, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007). ISBN-13: 978-0807858936.

Kwame Nkrumah, Challenge to the Congo: A Case Study of Foreign Pressures in an Independent State (Panaf, 2002[1967]). ISBN-10: 0 901787 12 4.

Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism (International Publishers, 1969). ISBN-13: 978-0901787231.

Patrick Chabal, Amilcar Cabral: Revolutionary Leadership and People's War (Africa World Press, 2003). ISBN-13: 978-1592210824.

​Carlos Moore, Fela: This Bitch of a Life (Chicago Review Press, 2009). ISBN-13: 978-1556528354.

​Alusine Jalloh and Toyin Falola, eds., The United States and West Africa: Interactions and Relations (University of Rochester Press, 2008). ISBN-13: 978-1580463089.