Skip to main content

Unit information: Pan-Africanism: ideas and archives in 2021/22

Unit name Pan-Africanism: ideas and archives
Unit code MODLM0045
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lingna Nafafe
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to the ideas and cultural expressions of Pan-Africanism. As a political ideology and influential cultural force, Pan-Africanism has had multiple meanings across different linguistic and geographic spaces and historical periods. These range from the powerful reverberations of the Haitian Revolution and the abolition of transatlantic slavery in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to twentieth-century negotiations of Pan-African unity against the backdrop of decolonization and the Cold War, to what is sometimes termed ‘small p’ pan-Africanism, finding contemporary expressions of solidarity in festivals, music, art, literature and film.

Students will study a selection of foundational texts in Pan-African thought (in Portuguese, English and French – translations will be provided where necessary), complemented by a range of cultural objects (literature, film, festivals, music etc.) that encourage critical thinking about this complex and powerful idea through reflection on its archive. This archive includes: documents from the Pan-African Congresses held between 1900 and 1945; film of Pan-African Festivals held between 1966 and the present day; Pan-African print culture such as the journal, Présence Africaine; literary texts of the Harlem Renaissance and négritude movements; cultural material relating to Rastafarianism and Hip-hop; theoretical discussion of Afrocentrism and Afropolitanism, in relation to Pan-Africanism. The unit aims to provide a transnational and multilingual perspective on the plural manifestations and legacies of Pan-Africanism, drawing on this term’s connections to ideas of race, identity, political activism and decolonial thought

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

1. Identify and discuss multiple ideas of Pan-Africanism, through engagement with primary source materials.

2. Respond critically on the intellectual legacies of Pan-Africanism in relation to ideas of race, identity, coloniality and decoloniality (with awareness of distinctions between the anglophone, francophone and lusophone worlds).

3. Evaluate and engage closely with a wide range of cultural objects, including printed archives, film, literature, performance, music, and photography.

4. Demonstrate critical awareness of the theoretical scholarship in this field of study and the ability to analyse this in written and verbal form.

5. Carry out independent research to a high level and present arguments supported by scholarship.

6. Evaluate the individual subjective experience of learning about Pan-Africanism

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered online through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

1 x 5000-word essay (100%) testing ILOs 1-6


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MODLM0045).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.