The aim of the course is to familiarise students with historical themes linking several geographical areas during the same time period. We will be studying the conditions and consequences of contact between different cultural contexts, looking beyond their specificities. By fostering an outward-looking approach and a comparative methodology, students will be encouraged to think critically and to become aware of current historiographical, even political, debates.
The first part of this course will aim to study the historical development and political, economic and cultural specificities of the countries of Europe and Africa, highlighting the tensions between ‘unity’ and ‘diversity’. We will consider, in particular, ‘regional’ integration models, the challenges generated by these, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the challenges engendered in Africa. Taking topical examples from current affairs, we will identify the specific obstacles to interregional cooperation between the European Union and the African Union. These topical cases will raise issues of political governance, development cooperation, trade, migration, and conflict prevention and/or management.
In the second part of the course, students will examine relations between the Middle-East and Europe in contemporary times. In Egypt and the Middle East, the 18th century ended with an event of unprecedented significance: in 1798, the French army crushed Mamluk/Ottoman resistance and conquered Cairo. Although French colonisation would only last for a few years, in the following century the European powers and Russia seized all the territories in North Africa and the Middle East. For 19th century politicians, the ‘ulama’ and intellectuals, the question which arose is one which still echoes down through the years: ‘How did the Europeans, formerly conquered and subjugated, become the triumphant victors?’ Having placed this question in its necessary historical context, we shall analyse the answer given by various cultural, political and social actors, thus gaining better understanding of its impact on the societies affected.