Crime, Deviance and Punishment in British Colonial Africa, 1900-60: Sources (HIH3152)

StaffDr Stacey Hynd - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at Level 1 and/or Level 2
Co-requisitesHIH3153 Crime, Deviance and Punishment in British Colonial Africa, 1900-60 (Context)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module is intended to examine a wide variety of sources related to the study of crime, deviance and punishment in British colonial Africa between 1900-60. The sources will highlight the complexity of colonial and African societies, and their responses to social deviance and disorder. The sources used will include trial transcripts, legal, administrative and police reports, Colonial Office files, Commissions of Inquiry reports, newspaper reports, prison memoirs, and novels. A critical approach to the use of such sources, particularly legal texts, government documents and memoirs, will encourage students to examine both historical and contemporary representations of African 'criminality' and disorder. It will also encourage students to reassess the historiography of British colonialism in Africa.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Development of a substantial knowledge of colonial states and societies in British Africa, 1900-60
  • 2. Developing an understanding of different historical methodologies and ethics, particularly through the use of legal records as historical sources
  • 3. Development of a very close specialist knowledge of those sources which the students will focus upon in their seminar presentations and written work
  • 4. Ability to analyse the complex diversity of the sources studied and relate them to the wider historiography

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Ability to analyse closely complex original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence
  • 6. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex texts and other types of evidence
  • 7. Ability to follow and evaluate critically the often complex reasoning of contemporary discourses
  • 8. Ability to understand and deploy historical terminology correctly

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning
  • 10. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment
  • 11. Ability to present complex arguments orally

Syllabus plan

Using primary sources, the module will examine the following topics: murder, violent and sexual crimes, prostitution, domestic violence, property crime, witchcraft, treason, sedition, juvenile delinquency and alcohol or drug related offences. It also looks at various forms of punishment: fines, flogging, imprisonment and capital punishment. Many of these topics will be explored through case studies, such as the 'Black Peril' scares in Southern Africa, witchcraft in Kenya, the Aba Women's War in Nigeria, and medicine murders in Lesotho.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities44Seminars (22x2hr)
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Porfolio of written work80Total of 6000 words1-11Verbal and written
Individual presentation2020-30 minutes1-11Verbal and written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Porfolio of written workPorfolio of written work1-11referral/deferral period
Individual presentationIndividual presentation1-11referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Aba Commission of Inquiry, Notes of Evidence Taken by the Commission of Inquiry into the Disturbances in the Calabar and Ewerri Provinces (Lagos, 1929)B. Bennett, Up for Murder: Famous South African Trials (London, 1934)
Cape Colony, Report of the Commission to Enquire into Assaults on Women (Cape Town, 1913)
Great Britain, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Administration of Justice in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika Territories in Criminal Matters, May 1933, and Matters Arising Out of the Report (London, 1934)
W. S. Blunt, Atrocities of Justice Under British Rule in Egypt (London, 1906)
C. Clifton Roberts, Tangled Justice: Some Reasons for a Policy of Change in Africa (London, 1937)
M. Hailey, An African Survey Revised 1956: A Survey of Problems in Africa South of the Sahara, (London, 1956)
G. I. Jones, Basutoland Medicine Murder: A Report on the Recent Outbreak of 'Liretlo' Murders (London, 1951)
E. K. Lumley, The Forgotten Mandate: A British District Officer in Tanganyika (London, 1976)
A. Paterson, Report on a Visit to the Prisons of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Aden and Somaliland during 1939 (Morija, 1944)

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