HIST 2200 – Research Essay (30%): Algeria’s Path to Decolonization From France

For this assignment, you will be expected to write a mid-length (6-8 pages double-spaced, 1500-2000 words) paper using course materials and some independent research. One of the fundamental dynamics of the modern world is the relationship between the colonial powers (mostly located in Europe and America) and the colonized world. When the 20th century began, most of the world was considered the territory of one or another European power, by time it ended, there were hundreds of independent countries which had once been colonial possessions. But the path to freedom was often incredibly difficult and required great sacrifice from the people fighting for that freedom. In some cases, those sacrifices were not enough and freedom still has not been achieved. In other cases, gaining independence made only cosmetic changes to peoples’ actual lives, which were still dominated by the wealth and power of the old colonial centres. Your assignment is to choose one former (or current) colony and tell the story of its path to freedom.

You should emphasize both the difficulties that people faced in gaining their independence and also the ways that the former colonial power sought to maintain its power, even after independence. The story will be different depending on the place you choose, so please check with me before you do any significant research. Some places will suit the assignment better than others, and if you don’t check with me, you run the risk of sinking a lot of time into a case study that does not make sense. (For instance, it would not make sense to write about Canada, the United States, or Australia as colonies of Britain, but it would be ok to write about Indigenous people colonized by Canada, the United States or Australia). You are allowed to write about places we’ve discussed in class, but make sure you do not simply repeat my own lessons back to me. I will know, I wrote them! Your grade will be primarily (but not entirely) based on: 1) the coherence of your argument; 2) your demonstration of complex critical thinking; 3) the clarity of your writing; 4) your effective use of outside sources (at least 4 additional academic/scholarly sources).

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