Intro to Northeast African History
Fall semester 2006
WF 9:00 10:20am
Instructor: Dr. Fikru Gebrekidan
Office: 311 Edmund Casey
Phone: (506) 452-0509
Office hours: WF 10 30am-12:00pm or by appointment. Should you find my office door open feel free to drop in at anytime.
Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia, Updated Edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). Library of Congress, Sudan a Country Study (http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/sdtoc.html). Library of Congress, Somalia a Country study (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/sotoc.html). Marcus's History of Ethiopia is a hard copy and is available at the UNB book store for purchase. The two country studies, and which will be referred to as just Sudan and Somalia in this syllabus, can be accessed online for free.
Helpful academic sites on countries of the Horn can be accessed through the University of Pennsylvania African Studies websites: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Country_Specific/Ethiopia.html, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Country_Specific/Sudan.html, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Country_Specific/Somalia.html, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Country_Specific/Djibouti.html, and http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Country_Specific/Eritrea.html.
For a weekly news coverage on Ethiopia see www.capitalethiopia.com, and for Sudan www.Sudantribune.com. Allafrica.com carries the latest news on Africa as well as provides links to all countries in the continent. Eritrea has no private newspapers, but www.asmarino.com provides online news coverage on Eritrea and Ethiopia from an Eritrean perspective, while http://somalinet.com is a good resource for current news on Somalia and Djibouti.
This is a three credit hour course on the history of Northeast Africa. Ethiopia, the most populous country in the region, will provide the natural focal point for the course. Northeastern Africa, commonly known as the Horn of Africa, consists of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Designed with history and non history majors in mind, the course will explore major landmark events in the history of this region from antiquity to the present. Lecture and discussion will dominate class format.
Northeast Africa, as the cradle of human kind, has a long and fascinating history. This in mind, the course will expose students to the rich past and diverse traditions of the region. Secondly, while no doubt environment has been least kind to the African Horn, reasons for present-day Northeast African crises are equally to be explained in terms of historical forces. In fact, the Horn of Africa is one of the most politically volatile regions with diverse and often contending national narratives. Against this background, the course will examine the role of history in state formation and to the construction of national identity, and in so doing will demonstrate the extent to which a reading of history becomes critical to the understanding of contemporary Northeast African politics.
Final grade will depend on six factors: final exam 30 percent, midterm 20 percent, country essay 20 percent, country updates 20 percent, attendance and class activity 10 percent.
There will be country watch groups, each made up of three students. The purpose of these groups is (A) to monitor news developments on their respective countries using online sources; (B) to update the rest of the class of such developments on weekly basis; and (C) to gather data for the five-page individual essay. Weekly updates will be in the form of a page long summary and will be sent directly to the rest of the class via email accompanied by relevant url addresses. Weekly summaries will be written in a formal language, using proper grammar and syntax. Make sure to keep a carbon copy of each email transaction. Should you send your assignment to the wrong address or encounter an unexpected email problem, this will save you from the frustration of having to retype your assignment from scratch.
In the five-page essay, you will pick up a major crisis such as civil war, irredentism, or genocide, and try to historicize it by investigating immediate and long-term causes. Paper will be submitted electronically by email in addition to hard copy. It will be based on textbooks and online sources, and citations will be made where appropriate. It will be turned in as word attachment, double spaced and with standard font and margins. Typically, a double spaced page with standard font and margins has an average of 250 words, which means your five-page essay may have about 1250 words. Hard copy should have the following information on the top right corner of the first page: student's full name, instructor's full name, course name and number. Paper should be stapled. Paper should have a title which must be centered and underlined. Failure to adhere to any of these basic formats will adversely affect the quality of your paper. Late papers will be penalized a point per day.
Attendance and participation
Attendance and participation count for 10 percent of the final grade. Assessment is based on several factors: class activity, coming to class prepared, respect to the professor and fellow students, positive attitude, class etiquette, and arrival on time. You are allowed a maximum of three absences. Each absence beyond that will lower your grade by a percentage point. For instance, if you have eight absences, your grade for attendance and participation will be lowered by at least five points, which might mean a loss of a full letter grade. Students with obligatory campus activities that may conflict with class schedule should immediately see the professor. Extenuating circumstances such as family emergencies and health problems have to be documented through the registrar's office to be excused, and even then the student has the responsibility to turn in all assignments on time.
Discussions, debates, asking and answering questions help sharpen students' analytical and reasoning skills as well as expose them to different perspectives. As such, they are central components of class activity. Political views have nothing to do with grades and students should feel free to express their opinions without feeling intimidated. Feel free to disagree with a particular point of view, but use a polite and formal language to assert your views. Derisive, disrespectful and spiteful comments create a hostile atmosphere and may result in an automatic zero grade for attendance and participation. If you are new to St. Thomas or have not done so already, consult STU's Academic Calendar to learn more about the policy on "mutual expectations" in the classroom.
Food is not permitted in class. Cellular phones must be turned off before entering class and should stay off until the class is dismissed. Portable CD and cassette players should be put away before entering class. Falling asleep or snoring in class, besides being embarrassing, disrupts learning. Ask permission to leave the class if you cannot keep yourself awake. Bathroom trips, although understandable under critical circumstances, are generally discouraged and should never become a pattern. While communicating with your professor in person or by email, address him or her by the last name and the proper title unless you are told otherwise. Do not start to pack up before the class is over.
Policy on accommodation
Students with disabilities and in need of special accommodation are encouraged to talk to the director of student affairs and the professor to make the necessary arrangements in accordance with STU guideline on accessibility and accommodation. Let the professor know how he or she can be of help. It is more likely that you know more than the professor about the nature of your disability. It is therefore up to you to try to enlighten the professor about your classroom needs. Such information is confidential and is not shared with any other person without your knowledge.
Students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic works. Academic honesty entails, among other things, that students will not plagiarize. This means that students will not submit someone else's work as their own, nor will they hand in a paper copied from the web or any other published or unpublished source. Academic honesty also means students will acknowledge any borrowed ideas (be it in the form of quotation, summary, or paraphrase) using the proper citation format. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in a failing grade for the course. Consult the STU Academic Calendar (pp. 237-38) for a detailed discussion on plagiarism and its consequences.
Sep. 8. Overview of course and syllabus.
Sep. 13-15. Ancient Nile civilizations. Ethiopia: Marcus 1. Sudan: historical setting, early history, Cush, Meroe, Christian Nubia. Somalia: historical setting, origins and migrations.
Sep. 20-22. From 13th to 15th centuries. Ethiopia: Marcus 2. Sudan: coming of Islam, the Arabs, decline of Nubian Christianity. Somalia: coastal towns.
Sep. 27-29. From 16th to 18th centuries. Ethiopia: Marcus 3. Sudan: rule of the Kashif, the Funj, the Fur. Somalia: emergence of Adal.
Oct. 4. Late 18th to late 19th centuries. Ethiopia: Marcus 4-5. Sudan: the Turkiya, the Mahdiya, the Khalifa. Somalia: Mogadishu and Banadir hinterlands, peninsula on the eve of partition.
Oct. 6. No classes.
Oct. 11-13. During the scramble for Africa. Ethiopia: Marcus 6-7. Sudan: the reconquest, Anglo Egyptian Condominium. Somalia: imperial partition.
Oct. 11. Midterm exam.
Oct. 18-20. Early 20th century: political and socio economic transformations. Ethiopia: Marcus 8-10. Sudan: Britain's southern policy, rise of Sudanese nationalism. Somalia: Mahammad Abdille Hasan's Dervish resistance, consolidation of colonial rule.
Oct. 25-27. The 1940s to the 1960s: decades of transition. Ethiopia: Marcus 11. Sudan: road to independence, independent Sudan, politics of independence. Somalia: Somalia during WWII, British military administration, trusteeship and protectorate, from independence to revolution, problems of national integration, pan Somalism, foreign relations.
Nov. 1-3. Revolutionary
regimes. Ethiopia: Marcus 13. Sudan: the Abbud military government, return to
civilian rule, the Nimeiri era, revolutionary council. Somalia: Husseen government,
Igaal government, coup d'etat, revolutionary regime, supreme revolutionary council,
Siad Barre and scientific socialism, Somali revolutionary socialist party.
Nov. 8-10. Revolutions go sour: crises of military rule. Ethiopia: Marcus 14. Sudan: the South and the unity of Sudan, the Southern problem, political developments, national reconciliation. Somalia: irredentism and changing balance of power, Ogaden war performance, sources of opposition, challenges to the regime.
Nov. 15-17. The 1980s: politics of famine and civil wars. Ethiopia: Marcus 15. Sudan: the transitional military council, Sadiq al Mahdi and coalition governments, regionalism and ethnicity. Somalia: difficult decade, Siad Barre's repressive measures.
Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The 1990s: a new start or the end of the old. Ethiopia: Marcus 16. Sudan: revolutionary command council for national salvation, political groups, foreign relations, relations with United States. Somalia: politics of reconciliation, politics of succession, politics of disintegration, break down of infrastructure, rising Islamism. Essay due.
Dec. 11 9:00am. Final exam.
Note about the syllabus
This syllabus is not a binding legal contract. Rather, it is meant to serve as a road map for both the students and the professor. Should the need arise, the professor maintains the right to modify the course by adding, subtracting, or rearranging reading assignments and course requirements.
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