Aims/Description: This module examines the rise and fall of French imperial rule in Africa, and its legacies and afterlives, from the end of the 19th century to the contemporary post-colonial era. By 1918, French imperial power in Africa had reached its zenith. Yet the next fifty years were characterised by contradiction, decline, and conflict, as the certainties of the `age of empire' were challenged. It will explore the ideas that underpinned French imperialism; the effects of imperialism on colonised societies; challenges to imperial rule; the complex relationship between French republican ideals and imperialism; movements of people and ideas from Africa to metropolitan France; and the persistent and important legacies of empire in the post-colonial era. Through these topics students will engage with questions of how race, gender, and class were navigated in the Francophone world, drawing on source material which allows for a `bottom-up' approach to draw out the voices of the people under study. Our range of primary sources represent the widest range of perspectives including African and French voices, women and men, the metropole and colony. Secondary literature will be used to contextualise the these sources and allow students to engage with the latest historiographical debates and scholarship being generated by this rapidly expanding field of enquiry. All texts will be provided in English.

Restrictions on availability: Students must have taken 40 credits from HST202-HST21999

Staff Contact: BLACK NICOLA
Teaching Methods: Seminars, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Project/ portfolio

Information on the department responsible for this unit (History):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK