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Decolonization in the Global South: Assignment

Decolonization in the Global South: A Case Study

Modern World History

Bentley Remote Schoolhouse, Spring 2020

Instructors: Dr. Adil, Dr. Chang, Mr. Dickens, and Ms. Merksamer

Decolonization in the Global South: A Case Study


Assigned Date: Mon., 5/11

Overview of Project Due: Mon., 5/18

Final Project Due:  Thu. or Fri., 5/21 and 5/22 (to be shared in class)

Project Prompt:

The Context

Although colonialism persisted in the decades after the end of WWI, new sentiments around the idea of national self-determination as championed in U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points gained ground in the colonial world. Anticolonial and anti-imperialist nationalist movements grew in strength and were refined in their internal organization during the interwar decades. Many were inspired by the revolutionary political ideologies of the emerging super powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. After the end of WWII, the process of decolonization began in earnest as European colonial powers proved unable to marshal the resources required to maintain their overseas possessions. Although dozens of countries gained formal independence in the first decades of the Cold War, their path to political stability and global economic integration was impeded by the conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R, who were both interested in influencing the development of emerging nations and binding them to their respective spheres of influence.

The Task

It was against this complex historical backdrop that many new nations emerged across Asia and Africa. For this assignment, you will research and create a presentation for the class that explores the process of decolonization in one of the countries listed below. You can choose what format you want the presentation to take, but it needs to be okayed by your teacher)For example, you could make:

• a graphic novel

•a podcast

• a short play

• a series of drawings/paintings

• a formal report

• an infographic

• a lecture with accompanying slides

• an essay

You will have an opportunity to choose your country from the list below, but your instructor reserves the right to assign you to a country if too many students want the same one. Your project should:

discuss the colonial history of your country 

explore the process of decolonization 

connect the colonial and anticolonial history of your country to the present day

List of Possible Countries: 

  1. Algeria
  2. The Philippines
  3. Egypt
  4. Ghana
  5. Vietnam
  6. Nigeria
  7. Indonesia
  8. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  9. Iraq

Excellent projects will

• Introduce the colonial history of your country (Who colonized it? When? What were they after? What was life like under colonial rule—for the colonized and the colonizers?) 

• Cover the origins of anticolonial independence struggles (When did an organized movement to overthrow colonialism emerge? What influenced the emergence of these movements?)

• Discuss who the important leaders and organizations were in the struggle for independence (Who and what were they? Where did they draw their inspiration from? Were they influenced by other people, ideas, and movements? If so, which ones?)

• Describe how, ultimately, independence was achieved. (Was there a war? Was it a relatively peaceful transition to independence?)

• Analyze what your country is currently like. (What kinds of struggles has your country faced since independence? Can they be tied to their colonial pasts, and if so, how?)

• Make use of evidence from both primary and secondary sources 


Important Questions To Answer During Your Research


1. What is the name of your colony and/or country?

2. When was your country colonized, and by whom (if your colony switched hands between colonial powers, please note that)?

3. When did the anticolonial movement begin in your country and why?

4. What organization(s) were prominent in your country’s anticolonial movement? When, where, and how were they founded?

5. Who was/were the leaders of the anticolonial resistance in your country?

6. What was the specific chain of events that led to independence in your country? When did independence occur?

7. What is the current situation in your country?  How does the current situation connect to your country’s colonial and anticolonial past?