Fall 2008

Riot and Rebellion in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-50  |  History, as HIST-92


Sean Redding (Section 01)


(AF) (Also Black Studies 50). There were numerous rebellions against the colonial state during the period of European colonial rule, and violent resistance to state authority has continued to characterize political life in many post-colonial African states. This seminar will examine the development of several outbreaks of violence in Africa in the colonial and post-colonial periods. We will look at the economic, social, religious, and political roots of these disturbances, and we will discuss the problems historians face in trying to narrate and analyze these often chaotic events. The events studied will include the Maji-maji rebellion in German-controlled Tanganyika; the first (1896-1897) and second (1960-1980) Chimurengas (revolts) in southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; Hutu extremism and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; the widespread revolt in the 1980s and 1990s in South Africa against the white-supremacist apartheid regime; and the rebel movements led by Alice Lakwena and then Joseph Kony in northern Uganda beginning in the late 1980s. We will also discuss the legends and rumors that often develop both before and after violent revolts and their role in the creation of historical narratives. Students will each write a 20-page research paper on an individually chosen topic. One class meeting per week. Instructor consent required. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Redding.