Historical Theory and Methods: The Congo Free State

Philip Whalen


This course provides an introduction to modern historical methods, theoretical considerations, and practical approaches pertinent to thinking and writing about modern history. Students will acquire familiarity with the uses—and the limitations—of historical comparison as an analytic tool; grasp temporal relationships and integrate multiple chronologies within the same analytical frame of reference; demonstrate the capacity to deal with differences in interpretation; critically analyze narrative structures and construct narratives; demonstrate an ability to recognize and interpret multiple forms of evidence (visual, oral, statistical, artifacts from material culture); recognize the distinction between primary and secondary sources, and understand how each are used to make historical claims about colonial history in general and the Belgian Congo in particular. Finally, students will learn to write a research paper in history.

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ISSN 2163-3177

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