Archive | October, 2014

Competing cartography in the colonial context: the case of Cameroon

In this post, Dieunedort Wandji, a student on the MA Francophone Africa programme, presents his independent research project on colonial mapping and Cameroon. As part of my MA in Francophone Africa at the University of Portsmouth, I undertook an Independent Project exploring the relationship between colonial power and mapping. For this project, I began by exploring the theoretical approaches to maps and mappings as they relate to the colonial context, precisely against the backdrop of colonial competition in Cameroon. Drawing on seminal works on critical cartography, I also attempted to recover the voices of the colonised through maps, along with assessing the post-colonial impact of colonial mapping as regards Cameroon. This blog will provide a brief overview of the theoretical underpinnings of my research, as well as the main research questions and aims, I hope to address in my project. The final project comprises of an online presentation of the visual features of maps, with conclusions derived from analyzing various maps and based on the theoretical framework developed around colonial mapping. This presentation is aimed at both undergraduate and graduate students of Francophone Africa with an interest in the colonial period and mapping, as well as those who wish to […]

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Basil Davidson’s The Magnificent African Cake: 30 years on and still as magnificent as ever

In this post, Dr. Joanna Warson explores Basil Davidson’s classic documentary, The Magnificent African Cake, and considers some of the reasons why, more than 30 years after it was first aired on Channel 4, this film remains such an excellent resource for teaching the partition of Africa. Over the past few weeks, in our second year unit, ‘Guns, glory hunters and greed: European colonisation in Africa’, we have been exploring the partition of the African continent by the European colonial powers. Taking as our starting point the Portuguese exploration of Africa’s coastline in the 15th century, we have traced the development of relations between Africa and Europe, from these early, primarily trade-focused encounters to the violent, territorial conquest that took place in the final three decades of the 19th century, seeking to present the “Scramble for Africa” as a long term process, whilst also exploring in detail the particular late 19th century context that enabled formal partition to take place. We dedicated one of the first sessions dealing with this topic to watching The Magnificent African Cake, episode six of Basil Davidson’s award-winning series, “AFRICA: A voyage of discovery”. Despite being more than 30 years old, for a number of different […]

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