HIST 307
Is Africa Poor? Spring 2020
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

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Poverty is widespread across Africa, yet exists alongside the continent’s fantastic wealth in natural resources. Despite a decade of excitement about “Africa rising” as a new economic powerhouse, African countries still occupy 36 of the bottom 40 positions in the most recent UN Human Development Report. How can we make sense of this contradiction? In this debate-focused seminar, we will delve deeply into the work of historians, international organizations, and African activists who have argued over the causes of poverty and inequality in Africa-and arrived at different conclusions about the appropriate solutions. Taking a historical approach, we will explore how the current challenges faced by African societies are rooted in the slave trade, colonial rule, the Cold War, and more recently, the imposition of neoliberal economic policies in Africa. Key issues of contemporary debate will include the role of state-centered development, privatization, resource extraction, foreign development aid, and climate change.
The Class: Type: discussion with organized debates
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3263
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: discussion participation, map quiz & multiple papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: History Majors, Political Economy Majors, Africana Studies Concentrators, Global Studies Concentrators
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: The class is grounded in extensive reading and debate about how economic inequality became structured on a global scale. This will entail studying how interconnected economic, political, and social differences developed-both between Africa and the rest of the world and within the African continent. Building on the wide-range of texts that we will analyze, the discussions and assignments will equip students to better understand and respond to current issues of global economic justice.
Attributes: HIST Group A Electives - Africa

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