Race, Violence and Colonial Rule in Africa

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joanna Lewis SAR3.03


This course is available on the MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course examines the nature of colonial rule in Africa and its impact. It  is focused upon the violence inherent in this encounter, its different forms and origins. It is essentially a political history but includes cultural, social and economic aspects. The primary focus is on the British empire in Africa. Topics covered include  Victorian racism; the ‘Scramble for Africa;  white settler culture; the origins of apartheid South Africa; the development of the colonial state; indirect rule; the rise of nationalism in West Africa; the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya;  the Congo crisis and the assassination of Lumumba; the rise and fall of 'white' Rhodesia; the wars of liberation in Mozambique; the end of the apartheid state; the genocide in Rwanda; the civil war in Sierra Leone; Mugabe and Zimbabwe; and Somalian warlordism.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and Lent terms and a revision session in the Summer Term.

Formative coursework

Each student is required to write two essays (3,000 words each) and one mock exam .

Indicative reading

M. Meredith, The state of Africa (latest edn); R Dowden, Africa: Altered States. Orindary Miracles (2009); N Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1994); J Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (1995); R. Reid, A history of Modern Africa (2009); D Kennedy, Islands of White: Settler Society and Culture in Kenya and Rhodesia, 1890-1939 (1987); F Furedi, The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race (1998); F Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, (1986 edn); C Achebe, Things Fall Apart (2001 edn).


Exam (80%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
In class assessment (20%).

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2015/16: 18

Average class size 2015/16: 10

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information