African history reading group
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Course dates are 26/05, 23/06 and 21/07.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now started
Course Code: HWH54
Duration: 3 sessions (over 9 weeks)
What is the course about?
This is not so much a course as a forum of 3 Wednesday evening sessions (6pm-7.30pm) for the group to share and discuss in greater depth our reactions to and analysis of three African history books. We will begin with Toby Green’s ‘A Fistfull of Shells’, which has been well-received and shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize in 2020. The other two books will be decided by the reading group collectively.
PLEASE NOTE: Dates of the sessions (all 6 - 7.30pm):
Toby Green: ‘A Fistfull of Shells’ (26 May)
Book 2: (23 June)
Book 3 and final wrap-up: (21 July).
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
The topics will vary from book to book. However, the first book, ‘A Fistful of Shells’ will cover medieval and early modern African socio-economic and political history in addition to the African encounter with European colonialism and imperialism and the violence, enslavement and racism these entailed.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Read books you might not have considered before
- Understand the significance of African history to both world history and our current debates on racism, imperial history and the politics of history.
- Engage in and navigate these difficult discussions with increased sensitivity, awareness and understanding.
- Express your opinion clearly.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge of African history is necessary. However, learners will, ideally, have the following skills and attributes:
- An enthusiasm for reading and discussing a range of texts in large and small groups.
- An interest in, and ability to listen to, the responses of other students to the work discussed.
- A willingness to read the book and prepare your thoughts before each session.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
In addition to the first book, the group will select two other books to be read before the last two sessions. Each session will revolve around a group discussion on the merits of the book in question.
Dates of the sessions (all 6pm-7.30):
Toby Green: ‘A Fistfull of Shells’ (28 May)
Book 2: (26 June)
Book 3 and final wrap-up: (23 July).
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will be expected to obtain a copy of the books to be read. Books selected will always be available in paperback (and kindle). If possible, we will also aim to choose books that can be obtained as audiobooks.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check the City Lit science, history and politics section for other courses.
Martin Ottovay Jorgensen is a historian by education (BA, MA and PhD in Denmark and Belgium). Overall, his research focuses on how forms of international cooperation were new international undertakings but also reflected deeper imperial practices that lingered on long after decolonization in various ways. As a university teacher, he has taught courses on world and global history; imperial and colonial history; the history of international organisations; peace and conflict; global issues and international relations as well as how memory is an active dimension in community-building, society, politics, international relations, conflict as well as corporate branding. Perhaps more importantly, Martin sees the active promotion of robust historical thinking as both a democratic practice of vital importance to the maintenance and continued strengthening of democracy and thus society as a whole. At City Lit, Martin combines these interests with his student-centric approach that aims to both promote history as a socially relevant way of thinking and give each class and course a horizon beyond itself.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.