The essential point in dealing with Africans is to establish a respect
for the European. Upon this—the prestige of the white man—depends
his influence, often his very existence, in Africa. If he shows by his
surroundings, by his assumption of superiority, that he is far above
the native, he will be respected, and his influence will be proportionate
to the superiority he assumes and bears out by his higher accomplishments
and mode of life.
—Capt. F.D. Lugard (1893)
The basis of any independent government is a national language, and we
can no longer continue aping our former colonizers... Those who feel
they cannot do without English can as well pack up and go.
—Jomo Kenyatta (1974)
COURSE is a required component of the Lewis & Clark East
Africa program and is meant to complement our travels and experiences in Kenya and Tanzania. It offers a
broad survey of the history of modern East Africa from the European exploration of the region in the
mid-nineteenth century through the development of the present day nation-states of Kenya, Tanzania,
and Uganda. Our central focus will be the motivations and effects of colonialism on the political,
economic, and social development of East Africa during the colonial period and in the years since.
The course readings and site visits will introduce us to narratives of exploration, conquest,
settlement, collaboration, and resistance told from multiple points of view.
The course is designed to engage us on two levels. It is largely an empirical history of modern East Africa, yet in
the process it forces us to address several compelling historical questions. Why did Europeans expand into East Africa
when they did and how did East African societies adapt to the new colonial economy and its political, social, and
environmental consequences? What role did East Africa play in the European empires and in what ways did global
economic and geopolitical forces shape the region? How did European and Indian immigration change the racial
and cultural composition of East Africa and what effect did colonialism have on how different African ethnic
groups interacted with these newcomers and with each other? How did the nation-states of East Africa grow from European colonies whose
boundaries were at times arbitrary and always permeable? Lastly, how did these political lines of demarcation
correspond to (or, in some cases, disregard) distinct geographic areas of East Africa such as the Great Lakes
region, the Central Rift Valley, the East African highlands, and the coastal zones and islands of the Indian
Ocean. What effect does this have on East Africa today? We will keep these and other questions in mind as
we examine the historical development of East Africa in the modern age.
Readings for this course will combine historical scholarship with literature and primary source documents from
different periods and perspectives. Students are encouraged to view all of these sources as historical texts and
to consider broader questions about the nature of colonialism, the formation of identity, economic interdependence,
migration, culture, race, gender, tradition, progress, and modernity. The course readings, lectures, and group
discussions should be leavened with your own observations of East African society and conversations with the many
people you will encounter during the program. Through the critical study of the history of East Africa, we will
enrich our experience of this region of the world through which we are traveling and the people and cultures with
whom we are fast becoming acquainted.
The schedule of readings and classes is designed to correspond with our program itinerary so that we study the history
of specific regions while we are in them. Our classes will also be supplemented with field trips and guest speakers,
many of them arranged while the course is already underway. Consequently, the schedule of readings and classes is
almost certain to change in mid-course as our itinerary is modified and we must remain flexible in this regard.