CONGOLESE STUDIES (Certificate)

Updated: Apr 13

This course will develop your knowledge of different periods of the Congolese history, heritage and culture from around 1300 to the twentieth century. You’ll begin to develop the skills of the historian in studying historical materials; exploring how we understand, interpret and debate past events; and investigating a range of critical approaches.


Please note: You will take 100 credits of modules in the first quarter and 50 credits in each of the remaining 2 quarters. The modules listed for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact students as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


First Quarter modules


Studying Societies (African Studies and Anthropology)

· 10 credits

This module delivers core study skills for students reading African Studies as a means to help them transition from secondary to higher education. The module provides a basic orientation in the field of African Studies and allows students to familiarise themselves with the key skills necessary for success at university, such as note-taking, essay writing, academic integrity, oral presentation, and the ability to use library resources.


Introduction to Congolese History

· 20 credits

This module focuses on what historians have been able to find out about the Congo in the period before the onset of colonisation by European powers. We look at how other academic disciplines (such as archaeology) and unconventional primary sources (such as oral traditions) have helped us to find out about the DR Congo societies which did not keep written records.


Anthropology of DR Congo

· 20 credits

This module examines the social, economic, and political organisation of a number of DR Congo societies and their recent historical transformations. Students are introduced to different systems of production (e.g. hunting-and-gathering; pastoralism; agriculture; industrial production); different modes of reckoning kinship and their consequences for social organisation (e.g. unilineal or cognatic systems); and different political formations, from less to more centralised systems. They are encouraged to think critically about the use of sociological models, ethnic labels, and kinship diagrams. Each session focuses on a particular area and the societies which have been living there. Students taking this module become acquainted with examples of Congolese societies, their history, and the conceptual frameworks that have been developed to make sense of them.


Introduction to Congolese culture

· 20 credits

This module introduces students to the study and appreciation of Congolese cultures. We have all seen the painted tribesmen and the drums, the starving children, the guerrilla war footage. Almost as pernicious, however, is the ‘roots’ romance view of Congo that was/is unfailingly just, communalistic and peaceful. This module will disabuse students of simplifications and distortions, while beginning to equip them with the knowledge and skills they will require in order to enjoy, appreciate and intelligently discuss aspects of Congolese culture.


DR Congo and the Disciplines

· 10 credits

This module develops students’ knowledge of the field of Congolese Studies by allowing them to explore its interdisciplinary nature in more detail. Students will focus on a theme or geographical area within Congolese Studies (which may change from year to year), in order to gain a better understanding of the interactions between disciplines such as history, politics, geography, literature and anthropology in the study of Congo. Guided by their personal tutor, students will work on an individual project-based assessment based on the skills and thematic knowledge they have gained through the course.


Introduction to Congolese Geography

· 10 credits

This module aims to, first, intimately understand the geography of the DR Congo, all it’s landmarks and it’s historical significance; and, second, to provide a broad introduction to human geographical ways of ‘seeing’ and ‘knowing’ the country.


Introduction to Congolese Development

· 10 credits

The module aims to provide a broad introduction to development principles, concepts and terminology which can be used as tools to study DR Congo’s integration into a global political economy and assess its changing place within a globalising world; explain disparities in material conditions in Congo, and between Africa and other parts of the world; and examine regional and local examples within DR Congo of both planned and 'spontaneous' socio-economic and other change.



Second Quarter modules


Research in Practice

· 25 credits

This module prepares students for a final quarter dissertation and independent study in the Department of Congolese Studies and Anthropology. It provides all students with a thorough grounding in research methodologies relevant to Anthropology and its cognate disciplines within Congolese Studies (for instance history, literature, development). Students will gain knowledge of research design and implementation, research ethics, and independent study skills, and will also practise a selection of methodologies for assessment. At the end of the module, students will have prepared a suitable research proposal that could form the basis of their final quarter dissertation.


Theory and Ethnography

· 25 credits

Ethnography and Theory covers essential elements of social theory for Anthropology, and anthropological theory for the Social Sciences and Humanities. It provides training in theories and theorists who have influenced anthropological thought and ethnographic research; and in the historical development of anthropological schools of thought, including those grounded in different national contexts, from the nineteenth century to the present day.


Examples of Second and Third Quarter topics

· Kinship, Gender and Sexuality

· Anthropology of Christianity

· From Colony to Nation: DR Congo 1880-1960

· Congolese Popular Culture

· Law, Rights and Justice

· Rural Livelihoods & Development Interventions in Congo

· Religion & Ritual

· Social Life of the Economy

· Slavery and Freedom in 20th Century Africa

· Theory and Ethnography

· Other…



Third/Final Quarter modules

Dissertation (Third/Final Year)

· 50 credits

In this module, students will identify a topic that is of interest of them and which is appropriate to their chosen subject. The Dissertation should be a culmination of the enquiry-based learning that has been developed in the course of this course, and as such students are expected learner independence, whilst being supported by members of academic staff and by their peers. Students will plan and execute work that culminates in a Dissertation of 10,000 words. The successful completion of a Dissertation will allow students to demonstrate the following skills which are transferable to employment or further study:

· Project planning

· Time management

· Information selection, retrieval and storage (using ICT where appropriate)

· Responding positively to feedback

· Written communication

Editing and presenting a substantial piece of work (using ICT where appropriate).

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