Header Imagining Africa

Course: Imagining Africa

Colonialism and Coloniality through Visual and Material Culture


Deel deze pagina

Colonialism is one of the most powerful structures that have shaped the contemporary world. Questioning the long-term consequences of colonial dynamics means exploring how the West has produced knowledge, discourses and art in order to legitimize its hegemonic position. In so doing, a pervasive imaginary of Africa as the “Other” was mediated and it still continues to reverberate in the way we think about this continent today.

Focusing on Italian (post)colonial history, with a strong focus on the fascist period, and considering the intersections between the nation-state project and the colonisation of the African continent, the course aims to explore the interplay between politics, ideology, culture, and media in creating an imaginary that fueled the ideological claims of the conquests in Africa and contributed in making them attractive to Italians. In order to address this topic, students will engage directly with a variety of primary sources (texts, images, films, material culture) and develop their own case study embedded in the methodological framework of the course. Moreover, as the material and immaterial colonial legacy is still tangible in contemporary Rome, the course will also explore its traces in the urban space as well as some attempts to counteract it.

Due to the broad interdisciplinary approach, concepts and theories from history, media, (post)colonial and memory studies will be integrated into the lectures. Themes that will be addressed include discourse on race, the representation of the African body and landscape, the idea of a civilization mission, the role of scientists, explorers and missionary practices in the construction of African “Otherness”. The course includes visits to sites, libraries, archives, and museums that preserve colonial collections and other (in)tangible signs of Italy’s colonial past. Passive knowledge of Italian is not compulsory, however, students with a good command of this language are particularly invited to apply for this course.

Lecturer & Coordinator
Dr. Maria Bonaria Urban (KNIR)

Assessment and Grading
Participants are required to submit a portfolio which includes a set of tasks, one of which (preparatory assignment) should be completed in advance.

Target group
Master, research master and PhD-students in History, Contemporary (Italian) History, Heritage Studies, Memory Studies, Postcolonial studies, Italian studies, enrolled in one of the KNIR partner universities (RU, RUG, UL, UU, UvA, VU).

The study load is the equivalent of 5 ects (140 hours) and comprises preparations and 10 days of study in Rome. Students should arrange with their own university whether the course can be part of the existing curriculum. Upon successful completion of the course, the KNIR will provide a certificate mentioning the study load and evaluation tools.

Participants will receive free tuition and excursions (including most entry fees for museums and archaeological sites). Travel expenses to and from Rome will be reimbursed up to € 100,- (or € 125,- in case you travel by train) upon a successful completion of this course. Meals and personal expenses are not included.

Application and admission
The masterclass is a selective course with a maximum of 10 participants. The selection of (R)MA students is based on grades, the positioning of the course in the student’s curriculum, and a letter of motivation. The selection of PhD students is based on the letter of motivation and curriculum vitae.

Students can apply via the link below; include in your application:
• a letter of motivation
• a cv
• for (R)MA students: a recent list of grades officially provided by your university.

30 March 2024

More info
E-mail: secretary@knir.it
Phone: (+39)063269621

Photo tile: Francobollo italiano emesso in Tripolitania promuovente la II mostra internazionale di arte coloniale a Napoli, 1934
Photo header: Casa Madre dei Mutilati e degli Invalidi, Roma (© photo credit M.B. Urban)