History | African Military Cultures and Conflicts
J300 | 13965 | Moyd

Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors

Popular representations of African warfare, present and past, often
characterize it as somehow more “primitive” and violent than wars
fought elsewhere. But is conflict in Africa so different from
conflict elsewhere in the world?

This course examines Africa’s history of warfare in order to assess
how the continent has been shaped by its military history. Drawing
on examples of major conflicts in Africa’s history, such as the
Nigerian civil war (Biafran War), the Battle of Mogadishu (Black
Hawk Down), and Darfur, we will explore how stereotypical depictions
of Africans as “savages” or “victims” contribute to popular notions
that African warfare is somehow fundamentally different from warfare
elsewhere. In this course, students develop skills for recognizing
and analyzing how historians, journalists, and others have written
about warfare in Africa. As an upper-division intensive writing
course, this seminar focuses on helping students refine their
writing skills, and on learning to identify the fundamental elements
involved in the production of history. In the process, students will
learn to critically analyze texts (including film), becoming
familiar with how authors use historical evidence to build
arguments, or to create powerful images that affect our perceptions
of Africa and its peoples. Assigned materials will help students
practice writing effective, persuasive, and critical essays, while
also honing their reading and research abilities. Class discussions
and presentations will encourage students to work on effective oral
communication skills. The course has no prerequisites.