The White Man's Burden

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The White Man's Burden

<p>Focussing on the Belgian Congo, we examine the European Scramble for Africa and the attitudes that drove it or challenged it. We will compare this to forces at work in the attempted “Reconstruction

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Focussing on the Belgian Congo, we examine the European Scramble for Africa and the attitudes that drove it or challenged it. We will compare this to forces at work in the attempted “Reconstruction” in the USA. British Imperial actions, particularly in the late 19th Century, were justified by concepts like “the White Man's Burden”. We will consider Rudyard Kipling’s support of Imperialism and the challenges of writers like Joseph Conrad and Conan Doyle and consider another form of white Superiority in the USA with the South’s resistance to reconstruction.


SUGGESTED READING
Kipling, The White Man’s Burden
Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Coppola, Apocalypse Now


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Imperialism and Colonialism in European History. Various driving factors. Special features of Colonialism in the 19th century, especially, industrialization. Reasons for the assumed superiority of Europeans
  • The Scramble for Africa. Interplay between Nationalism and Colonization. Rudyard Kipling as the voice for British Imperialism.
  • The special features of the Belgian Congo. Joseph Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness"
  • Roger Casement and his work in the Belgian Congo and his support by writes like Conan Doyle. His treatment by the British Government.
  • The ongoing legacy of slavery in America. The failure of Reconstruction after the Civil War. Deeply ingrained forces of white supremacy. The unacknowledged Colonialism of the American frontier expansion.
  • White Supremacy and contemporary America. Reactions to a Black President. The Alt Right Movement and Donald Trump. Possible outcomes.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, student should be able to:

  1. Have a heightened awareness of the impact that past events and circumstances can have on current events.
  2. Recognize the “power of the pen” in righting public wrongs.
  3. Be more aware of the sad discrepancy between ideals and reality in much public rhetoric.