University of Wisconsin–Madison

Course Spotlight: Modern African History

Course Description

This course surveys the history of sub-Saharan Africa from the 1940s through the present day. Students will examine how various African communities have defined well-being, pursued prosperity, and imagined collective futures in the years since World War II.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine how African communities and individuals have grappled with matters of faith, power, identity, morality and survival in light of major historical processes, including colonialism and decolonization, the articulation of African nationalisms, labor movements, urbanization, global health crises and economic change. We will shift our lens frequently, at times engaging with the big picture narratives of African and global histories, and at other times, focusing in on stories of individual lives and locations. Course materials include memoirs, political and philosophical writings, films, photographs, fiction and works of art.

Course Details

History 105: Modern African History
4 credits
Tues./Thurs. 11:00AM-12:15PM
1651 Humanities
Fall 2018

Sample Readings

Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Decolonizing the Mind
Julius Nyerere, “Ujamaa: the Basis of African Socialism” (1962);
Mariama Ba, So Long a Letter
Steve Biko, I Write What I Like
James Ferguson, “Globalizing Africa? Observations from an Inconvenient Continent,”
Doreen Baingana, Tropical Fish
Binyavanga Wainaina, “I am a Homosexual, Mum”

About the Instructor

Emily Callaci is an historian of modern African history. Her first book, Street Archives and City Life: Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania, explores youth culture in the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in the 1960s. She is currently working on a book about the history of contraception and family planning across Africa. She is particularly interested in African cities, youth, popular culture, gender and sexuality, reproductive politics and African literature.

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