[237120, A2] Wk 4: Task 3F – Bringing your own Knowledge to the Topic
Related Concepts to Discuss:
- In the context of the Scramble for Africa and the map of partition laid down at the Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884: The definition of civilisation plays a large part in why the Europeans felt justified in their actions. Who decides what is civilised? What are the criteria for civilisation?
- Reference could be made to the famous political cartoon entitled ‘In the Rubber Coils’ featured in Punch Magazine in 1906 as a visual text. It depicts a Congolese man being strangled by a snake with King Leopold of Belgium’s head, showing the fearful grip Leopold’s rubber production had on the Congolese people.
“In the Rubber Coils” Political cartoon by Linley Sambourne, published in Punch Magazine (1906)
I could link the theme of strangulation to how the African people were given no voice in deciding who would have rights to the land. This reflects similar views as in Yinka Shonibare MBE’s installation Scramble for Africa featured in Mirzoeff’s ‘The World of War’ chapter.
- Further research into the partition of Africa should include the opinions of M. E. Chamberlain, an esteemed historian with an excellent book I once read entitled ‘The Scramble for Africa’. Hopefully the text is available online.
- The Scramble for Africa case study would benefit from discussion of why there are so few resources available on the African worldview from the time of the partition. This is why I want to bring in discussion of contemporary post-colonial African worldviews, particularly the writer Chinua Achebe. I want to make reference to his quote,
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” – Chinua Achebe
- In the context of Mirzoeff’s case study of World War I, I would like to discuss matters in terms of the dominant worldview of the victors, and the less considered viewpoints of the defeated nations.
- David Low was a famous political cartoonist who did many satirical cartoons at the time of World War I and the inter-war period. His cartoons would make for interesting visual texts to discuss. One such visual text includes his cartoon dubbed by its caption, “What, no chair for me?”
It depicts the exclusion of the Soviet Union, here represented by Stalin, from international peace negotiations in the interwar period due to mistrust of communism and its previous alliance with Germany. This shows how the dominant worldview is decided by the victors or war; the same people who decide the borders of the map.
- The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 is important to show who belongs to which worldview (dominant versus non-dominant). The Upper House of the League of Nations also demonstrates whose the dominant viewpoint is.
- Revisionism in historiography would present an interesting viewpoint to challenge why the new map of Europe after WWI made certain empires weaker. The Fritz Fischer Thesis is famous for challenging conventional views, and should be included in recommended reading for my Assessment 2 essay.
- I need to make sure I properly connect the case studies and historical knowledge to the prompt provided for Assessment 2. It is vital I make the information relevant to Mirzoeff’s chapter ‘The World of War’, because I am concerned that my final essay may drift off topic.
- Low, David. What, no chair for me? Granger Historical Picture Archive, New York. Web. <https://www.granger.com/results.asp?inline=true&image=0065358&wwwflag=7&itemx=45&screenwidth=1366>.
- Sambourne, Linley. In the Rubber Coils. Punch Magazine Cartoons, London. Web. <http://www.punchcartoons.com/More-Categories-history-&-politics-personalities/c200_32_107/p379/In-The-Rubber-Coils/product_info.html>.