Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module HIST3121: Image, Race and Territory: Zimbabwean Histories, 1850 to the Present

Department: History

HIST3121: Image, Race and Territory: Zimbabwean Histories, 1850 to the Present

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • • A pass mark in at least ONE level two module in History.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to a holistic understanding of Zimbabwe’s modern history
  • To enhance their knowledge of key concepts and themes in modern Zimbabwean history
  • To help students reflect and evaluate the major debates on Africa's modern history
  • To promote the skills of independent reading, writing and oral communication
  • To contribute towards the achievement of the Department's generic Aims for study at Level 3.


  • The historiography of Zimbabwe is dominated by a broadly liberal approach, in which the two key themes have been land and race. British colonialism was not only perceived to have been benign but also civilising in content. Using the work of historians of Zimbabwe, this module will examine the role of explorers, hunters, traders and especially missionaries in influencing a Eurocentric view of Africa and Africans. It will discuss the debates surrounding the nature of interactions between Europeans and the indigenous inhabitants of Zimbabwe and the emergence of racial classification, land designation and categorisation. Of central importance will be the ideas, images and reality of colonial power and control over collaborating and resisting Africans. The module will explore contemporary political debates about governance and Zimbabwe’s image in Africa and abroad arising from, in particular, the fast-track-land resettlement programme.
  • Students will engage with selected texts from the period and significant scholarly debates about the social, economic, ecological and political impact of 90 years of British colonisation. Most importantly, students will be encouraged to question the ways in which historians have utilised primary and secondary sources to write Zimbabwean history.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge and understanding of the role of pioneering Europeans and colonial officials in shaping new ways of life in Zimbabwe, 1850-1980.
  • An awareness of, and familiarity with, pertinent scholarly debates on the dominant themes of race and land in Zimbabwe.
  • An understanding of the role and historiography of change and continuity in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwean history.
  • An appreciation of the nature and long-run impact of colonial rule
  • Understanding of the problems and limitations confronting the post-colonial state
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific & Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/Index.htm
  • To reflect upon the nature of history as a discipline by analysing the questions historians ask of their primary sources and/or the nature of the debates among historians.
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/Index.htm

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
  • lectures to set the foundations for further study and to provide the basis for the acquisition of subject specific knowledge. Lectures provide a broad framework which defines individual module content, introducing students to themes, debates and interpretations. In this environment, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and reflection;
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students' ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals.
  • Assessment:
  • Unseen Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The unseen examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge;
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2; Introductory lecture in term 1 1 20
Seminars 8 6 - 3 in Term one, 3 in Term two; introductory seminar in term 1; revision seminar in term 3. 1 8
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 1 2000 words not inclusive of scholarly apparatus 50%
essay 2 2000 words not inclusive of scholarly apparatus 50%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Seen examination [paper to be made available not less than twenty-four hours before the start of the examination] 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Coursework essays are formative as well as summative. They are to be submitted in two copies, of which one will be returned with written comments and a standard departmental feedback sheet; Preparation to participate in tutorials; At least one oral presentation or short written assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University