History 598. 01 Senior colloquium colonial encounters: european imperialism 1830-1930

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History 598.01                                                                           Prof. Alice L. Conklin

Winter 2005                                                                              conklin.44@osu.edu

W 1:30-3:18                                                                              232 Dulles Hall

DB 0047                                                                                   Tel: 2-6325


This course will explore Europe’s often brutal -- and always complex -- encounter with some of the peoples it colonized in the modern “Age of Empire,” and the many different ways in which historians have written about this encounter.  Special attention will be paid to the French, British and Belgians in Africa, the devastating impact of their policies, and the way Africans shaped colonial cultures in Europe itself.  Themes we will consider include the motives for European expansion;  the emergence of new racist and humanitarian ideologies;  masculinity, interracial unions, and fears of miscegenation;  women’s roles in empire;  strategies of resistance and accommodation to colonial rule;  and the continuing influence of the colonial past on Europe’s multicultural societies today.  Students may write their final paper on an aspect of modern European imperialism in some other part of the world if they so choose (e.g. the British in India, the Dutch in Indonesia, the French in Vietnam, etc.)


REQUIRED TEXTS (all available from University Bookstore, and on reserve in library):


Alice L. Conklin and Ian Christopher Fletcher (eds.), European Imperialism 1830-1930

Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin in the Congo

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost

Andrew Porter (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3: The Nineteenth Century


All other readings (except those marked “handout” in the syllabus) are on Electronic Reserves(on-line), as well as on regular reserve in the library. For instructions on how to access Electronic Reserve, please see attached sheet.


OFFICE HOURS:  Thursday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. or by appointment




         Students should come to all classes prepared, and participate actively in discussions.  You will be asked to read a number of articles, primary sources, and book chapters each week, and should have the reading completed before class. 


         Each week, by the day before we meet for class, I want you to e-mail me one or two questions suitable for class discussion based on that week’s readings. Try to come up with questions that will help us to discuss and interpret the assigned sources in class.


        There will be three short papers (not to exceed three double-spaced pages) due in the first half of the quarter.  The course will conclude with a final paper (approximately ten double-spaced pages) on one of the topics discussed in class. This paper must incorporate three additional sources beyond those used in the class.  Students must choose their topics in consultation with me no later than the seventh week of the quarter, and to submit their final bibliographies in the ninth week of the quarter.


        Please note that all students must be officially enrolled in the course by the end of the second full week of the quarter.  No request to add the course will be approved by the department chair after that time.  Enrolling officially and on time is solely the responsibility of each student.





Your grade will be based on the following components:

Final paper: 35%

First short writing assignment: 10%

Second short writing assignment: 10%

Third short writing assignment: 10%

Classroom participation: 30%

E-mailed questions based on weekly readings (weeks 3-10): 5%


Grades will be computed on the following standard scale:


A+ 97.5% and above   B+ 87.5% and above   C+ 77.5% and above   D+ 67.5% and above

A    92.5% and above   B     82.5% and above   C    72.5% and above   D   60% and above

A-   90%  and above     B-   80% and above      C-    70% and above     E    below 60%


Week One (5 January)


Course introduction: European expansion in the nineteenth century


Week Two (12 January)


Theme: What is imperialism?


Stephen Howe, “Who’s an imperialist?” in Empire: A Very Short Introduction, 9-34

Alice Conklin and Ian Fletcher, introduction to European Imperialism, 1-9

Andrew Porter, introduction to Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3 (OHBE), 1-28

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost, 1-74


First Short Paper Due In Class. 

Topic:  On the basis of these readings, briefly define European imperialism in the modern era and its key characteristics. 



Week Three (19 January)


Theme: Economics and empire


P.J. Cain, “Economics and empire: the metropolitan context,” in OHBE, 31-52

Martin Lynn, “British policy, trade, and informal empire in the mid-nineteenth century,” in OHBE, 101-121

J.A. Hobson, “Imperialism” (1902), in Conklin and Fletcher, 18-20

Rosa Luxemburg, “Capitalism depends on the non-capitalist world” (1913), in Conklin and Fletcher, 29-36

V.I. Lenin, “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism” (1916), in Conklin and Fletcher, 36-43

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost, 75-139



Week Four (26 January)


Theme: Technology and empire


Robert Kubicek, “British expansion, empire, and technological change,” in OHBE, 247-69

Michael Adas, “The machine as civilizer,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 67-74

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost, 140-274


Second Short Paper Due In Class.   

Topic:  Which was a more important motive for imperialism, trade or technological change?  Why? 


Week Five (2 February)


Theme: Governing the empire


Peter Burroughs, “Imperial institutions and the government of empire,” in OHBE, 170-97

Gabriel Angoulvant, “Pacification” (1908), in John D. Hargreaves (ed.), France and West Africa, 200-206

Frederick Lugard, “On indirect rule” (1913-1918), in William H. Worger et al (eds.), Africa and the West, 241-46

George Orwell, “Shooting an elephant” (1936), in The Penguin Complete Essays of George Orwell, 18-25

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost, 275-306



Week Six (9 February)


Theme: Civilization and human rights


Rudyard Kipling, “The white man’s burden” (1899), in Conklin and Fletcher, 58-59

Alice Conklin, “The French Republican civilizing mission,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 60-66

Andrew Porter, “Trusteeship, anti-slavery, and humanitarianism,” in OHBE, 198-221

Nina Berman, “The Civilizing Mission:  Albert Schweitzer in Gabon,” in Impossible Missions, 61-98

Albert Schweitzer, “January to June 1914,” from On the Edge of the Primeval Forest (1921), 54-70



Week Seven  (16 February)


Theme: The empire in Europe: representing the empire


Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin in the Congo (1931)

John M. MacKenzie, “Imperialism and juvenile literature,” in Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion, 1880-1960, 198-226

John M. MacKenzie, “Empire and metropolitan cultures,” in OHBE, 270-93

Zeynep Çelik, “Displaying the Orient,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 141-48

Anne McClintock, “Advertising the empire,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 149-57


Final paper topics due.



Week Eight (23 February)


Theme: Gender, sexuality, and empire


Dr L.J. Barot, “Colonization through the bed” (1902), in John D. Hargreaves (ed.), France and West Africa, 206-209

Ronald Hyam, “Concubinage and the colonial service: the Crewe Circular (1909),” in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 14, no. 3, May 1986, 170-86

Frances Gouda, “Dutch women in the East Indies,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 111-117

Owen White, “Miscegenation and Identity in French West Africa,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 131-138.


Third Short Paper Due In Class:

Topic:  Write a critical book review of Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost. (I will hand out a sample book review for you to model yours on).



Week Nine (March 2)


Theme: Empires at war


David Killingray, “Guardians of empire,” in David Killingray and David Omissi (eds.),

Guardians of Empire: The Armed Forces of the Colonial Powers c.1700-1964, 1-24

Joe Harris Lunn, “Kande Kamara speaks: an oral history of the West African experience in France, 1914-1918,” in Melvin E. Page (ed.), Africa and the First World War, 28-53

Tyler Stovall, “Colonial Workers in France during the Great War,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 165-73


Final Bibliographies Due



Week Ten (9 March)


Themes: Anti-colonialism before 1930; colonialism remembered.


M.K. Gandhi, “The disease of civilization” (1910), in Conklin and Fletcher, 22-29

James C. Scott, “Peasant weapons of the weak,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 184-89

Ho Chi Minh, “The struggle lies in the colonies” (1924), in Conklin and Fletcher, 51-53

Frederick Cooper, “Wage Labor and Anticolonial Resistance in Colonial Kenya,” in Conklin and Fletcher, 189-196.

Dinesh D’Souza, “Two cheers for colonialism,” in The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, 10 May 2002 (handout)

Amitav Ghosh, “The Anglophone empire,” in The New Yorker, 7 April 2003 (handout)


Final deadline for papers:   12:00 noon, Monday, March 14 in my office (232 Dulles Hall).

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