Study abroad in Edinburgh

Course finder

Semester 1

Black Europe: Afropean Experience and Identity in Modern European History (HIST10476)







Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Visiting students must have completed at least 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum academic entry requirements does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that 3rd year History courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any 3rd year History course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the History department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

Africans and people of African descent have been present in continental Europe since Antiquity, and in a more significant number since the nineteenth century by the latest. In the course of 'decolonizing Europe', European societies have been slowly beginning to come to terms with their own (post-)colonial past, the structural racism that continues to exist, their own 'Whiteness' as well as the 'Otherness' of their social heterogeneity. The field of Black European studies is thus garnering increased attention. This course provides a close reading of the Black European Studies' key texts, examines a wide array of case studies, and discusses the meanings of 'Blackness', 'Whiteness' and Afropean identity in modern European history critically.

Course Description

This course will explore the historical African-European foundations of Europe and some of the challenges that 'Afropean' identity has been triggering and facing at the same time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe. It will further examine the transnational experiences of people of African and African American descent in Europe, and how their presence and construction of national identity has shaped European self-awareness, the vision of global connectedness, European 'Whiteness', and human diversity. Case studies from several European countries will be used to look more closely at historical developments, trends in 'Afropean' debate, and current social issues. The spectrum of case studies will range from the already better researched Western European regions such as France and Germany to Scandinavia, Russia, and the still less explored Eastern and Southern European regions like Poland or Rumania. We will compare and contrast the experiences and answer, among others the following questions: How was "Blackness" experienced and performatively constructed? What influence did Afro-European people and materiality have on European transformation processes? How did their presence change the topical place attributed to them in political, social, and literary perception during the (post) colonial period, and how did they reinterpret it? And last but not least, how was the socialist programmatic "racial blindness" of the postwar era challenged by Black Africans and countered by growing racism? These questions will be discussed and critically reflected, driven by the central texts in the newly emerging Black European Studies field, Black cultural theory, and various primary sources, including memoirs of Afro-European migrants, Afro-European poetry, visual sources, sculpture, newspaper articles, etc.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course


All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer