Education and Capacity in African History (HIST-291)

Education and Capacity Course

Renaissance School 9th grade visiting the art museum, Image courtesy of MHC Department of History

Instructor: Professor Hanson

Education is the central process of human existence: through it, human societies advance, without it, all humanity has accomplished would be lost in a generation. In this class we examine principles and practices of education over five hundred years of African history using ancient epics, colonial commissions, modern fiction and a range of other sources.

We explore the deliberate use of education to hold people in servitude, as well as, the power of education to facilitate liberation, and ask why the immense efforts expended on education in recent decades are not yielding prosperity for the citizens of African nations.

We experience the challenge of contributing to the education of others through our collaboration with the Springfield Renaissance School 9th grade: each class participant works with a group of partners during our visits to the Renaissance School, and then hosts them during their visit to Mount Holyoke.

In its attention to the dynamics of social transformation and the ethics of entering and engaging with a new community, the class contributes to the Development and Educational Studies Nexus programs.