Colonialism: Good or Bad?
As we have learned from reading about colonialism and decolonization
over the past several weeks, complexity is the name of the game.
Not all colonizing powers operated in the same way and not all
colonized peoples responded in the same fashion to the challenges that
colonial dominance c. 1850-1950 presented. In the case of France
Overseas (in French la France
d'outre mer) we have learned that the French desired to
transform colonial subjects into Frenchmen and that they viewed
colonial possessions from Indochina to French Guiana as part of
France. Some parts of that empire are still part of France such
as Martinique, Guadaloupe, and French Guiana (where the currency is, in
fact, the Euro) and the French Foreign Ministry maintains close ties to
a number of former colonies in Africa such as Senegal, Ivory Coast, and
Burkina Faso, all of which were once part of the French equivalent of
British Commonwealth that began life
around the time of the writing of The
Dark Child, the French Union or Union française (existed 1946-1958). This
French Union was destroyed by the combination of the French war with
the independence movement in what became Vietnam (1947-1954), the war
against the independence movement in Algeria (1954-1962), and a series
of struggles against African freedom movements in the same era.
These days only a few former colonial possessions have chosen to remain
linked to France directly in what is known today as the
France or Communauté
française, an organization that succeeded the French Union,
but which is much smaller. Given these violent conflicts, it is
not surprising that the past of the region where Camara Laye grew up
(Guinea) and French West Guinea in general, had a checkered past with
regard to colonialism. Having
read, in its entirety, The Dark Child
and the web-source entitled French
West Africa, Another Path…to which you see a link in this sentence (the only other
source you may use is Ways of the
World), answer the
On balance, did colonialism prove beneficial or harmful to colonial
Your paper should consist of the following sections:
1) An introduction of 1/4 of a page and that takes
a position as to
whether colonialism was good or bad for colonial peoples and briefly indicates why.
2) A 1/2-page examination of the reasons why you are taking the
position you are taking, using examples from primary and secondary
3) A 1/2-page examination of the merits of the opposite side's position
in which you refute the other side's case, using examples from primary
and secondary sources.
4) A 1/2-page section in which you synthesize the two perspectives that
you have examined, indicating why, on balance, the position you are
defending is correct.
5) Has a 1/4-page conclusion in which the thesis from section 1 is
restated and perhaps extended.
Standards: First, you must
type your paper using standard margins (1
inch all around), Times New Roman font and a 12-point type size.
must properly document your use of other people's work in this essay.
In plain terms, whenever you comment on or quote from the soures you
use, I expect a proper footnote indicating what material in
you are referencing (a 25% reduction on your paper will occur if you
to document your work properly). For examples of how to footnote, click
on the General Guidelines hypertext in the Formal Writings section of the web
You will also find hints on how to write well and on general guidelines
to what I look for in written work. Finally, your essay must be
full pages in length, double-spaced.
You will be using two books (Ways of the World and The Dark Child) and a web-based
source ("French West Africa: Another Path...". The formatting for
the main entry footnotes of the books can be found in the Required
Readings section of the course syllabus. The proper way to format
the main entry of a web source can be found by looking at example 35 on
the following web-site: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/resdoc5e/RES5e_ch10_s1-0001.html
Documenting Your Work: