London Metropolitan University & Black History Walks present:
Dr Walter Rodney Symposium: How Europe Underdevelops Africa.
Saturday 3rd November 10-30-5.00pm
To mark Black History Month this symposium will provide an overview of the analysis by Dr Walter
Rodney in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, (1972). The aim is to acknowledge the
contribution made by Dr Rodney in contextualising the deliberate strategies of underdevelopment of
Africa by Europe during the colonial and postcolonial periods. It will revisit his work in relation to
Africa’s social and economic position today and consider the implications of neo-colonialism in the
struggle for self-determination and economic independence.
Extending his empirical research from 1500 – 1960s, Rodney argues that Africa’s underdevelopment
and the exploitation of its resources is the direct consequence of Western Europe’s imperialistic
policies. Rodney claims that our understanding of development, as related to Western Europe’s
accelerated advancements under capitalism, provides the bases for our understanding of
underdevelopment. The two must be compared, not just by economic factors but by a look at social
indicators such as life-expectancy, levels of diseases, malnutrition and illiteracy.
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is highly praised and influential in the field of development
studies and African History. Rodney is critical of the term “developing” which implies linear and
probable advancement. The term “Underdevelopment” holds that this situation exists as a
“paradox” despite such countries being naturally rich. This means that they are made
deliberately poor - underdeveloped - through the exploitative mechanisms of capitalist
There will be a screening of W.A.R Stories a film by Clairmont Chung based on his life as a world
renowned African Historian, political activist and scholar. A well-travelled pan-Africanist,
Rodney’s oratorical skills advocated the cause of the working peoples of his native Guyana.
This “grounding” with ordinary people for whom he sought justice and equal rights posed a challenge
to the Burnham regime, eventually leading to his assassination.
During the Black History period it gives members of the community the chance to participate in a
debate on the history and future development of Africa.
London Met Students, Staff, Alumni and prospective students will benefit from the chance to engage
in an open discussion of this influential work and the documentary of Walter Rodney’s life at the
height of his political career up to his assassination in 1980. It offers another opportunity for London
Met to collaborate with Black History Walks in projects that support the community and academic
Presentations by leading African/Caribbean Historians:
Professor Clem Seecharan of London Met: 'The making of Rodney's HEUA, with special reference
to its Caribbean underpinnings,' looking at the making of HEUA and locating the origins of some of its
Dr Kimani Nehusi: focusing on education, culture and socialization and how the coloniser destroys
and distorts those of the colonised.
Dr Ama Biney: “How Europe Continues to Underdevelop Africa,” will look at the contemporary forms
of the subjugation of Africa on the political, economic, military, cultural, environmental levels
Dr Michelle Asantewa of London Met will be co-hosting the event with Tony Warner of Black
Extended discussions both presentation of HEUA and screening of War are intended to be
(Free for London Met students, staff & Alumni)
Refreshments & lunch provided.
Date: 3rd November 2012
BOOKINGS/RSVP: Michelleyaa@yaoo.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration 10.30am for 11.00am start end 5.00pm, 166-220
Holloway Road, Room TM237
PLEASE NOTE: You will have to use the ROCKET ENTRANCE as the Tower is closed for
maintenance. Follow the directions to the room. The Rocket is located on the same side as the
Main entrance about a minute’s walk away.
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