In 2022, the Imperial History Working Group was re-imagined as a group that engages with the multifaceted approaches and methodologies of African history. Departing from its roots in the early 20th century, academics from and beyond the historical field have re-examined the study of the continent to understand the evolution and reinterpretation of classical definitions such as colonialism, imperialism, decolonisation and settler colonialism.
Doing this individually is no easy task. The African Working Group (AHWG) sets out to understand this dynamic field in a collaborative and informal environment. Beyond operating as a reading group focused on African historiography, the group aims to enhance the visibility of African history within the EUI History Department and connect researchers working on Africa.
The group will meet once a month in a hybrid capacity for a two-hour long session. During the first hour, the group will discuss a ‘classic’ text, such as the ones written for example by Falola, Mbembe, or Cooper. The second hour will be dedicated to a more recent article published in the field by investigating a specific case study or theme. The intention is not to burden a researcher’s already strenuous workload. Instead, the AHWG hopes to create a space for these types of historiographical discussions for interested EUI researchers who have not necessarily been trained in African history.
Some questions the working group will explore:
- What is African history? Is it useful to define ‘African’ history?
- What do ‘imperialism’ and ‘colonialism’ mean in the context of African history?
- How can group agency in African history be conceptualised? How can historians best approach concepts such as ethnicity, language and ‘tribes’?
- Space and connection: How do we think about Africa in the world?