Africa & the Slave Trades (HIST*4100) | College of Arts

Africa & the Slave Trades (HIST*4100)

Code and section: HIST*4100*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Femi Kolapo


Method of Delivery

HYBRID: Student seminar presentations on Monday will be in class (F2F), while questions & discussions on Wednesday will take place virtually and synchronously.

Course Synopsis

This course will run as a series of seminars and discussions that examine the nature of slavery and slave trade in Africa before the 19th century. Using select secondary and primary sources, the course will explore key topics and debates in the history and historiography of slavery in Africa up until the beginning of its abolition in the 19th century. Was slavery and slave trade in Africa of some essential characteristics similar or different from the famous Atlantic slavery? What were the origins of slavery in Africa? How did Islam and Christianity, gender, firearms, and state formation all impact and were impacted by slavery and slave trades before the 19th century. These and other topics will be the subject of our seminar discussions during the semester.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify key primary and secondary sources relevant to the study of slavery and the slave trades in Africa
  2. identify and explain the major topics and controversies that constitute the study of the history of slavery and the slave trades in Africa.
  3. analyse the types and strengths and weaknesses of principal source evidence for the study of slavery and the slave trades in Africa 
  4. use relevant primary source evidence on slavery in Africa in historiographical analysis.
  5. organize scholarly evidence and effectively present views orally as well as in writing in formal setting and informal discussions (via the seminar presentations, discussions, and a final exam).
  6. fulfil the role of professional historians by preparing for and writing a final history project requiring a successful search for, selection, and interpretation of relevant primary and secondary source evidence.




  • 50% Seminar presentation (25%) & preparation / class discussion (25%)    
  • 40% Final project/essay based on select primary sources
  • 10% Final Exam                 

Required Texts: 

Links to assigned reading materials will be on Course Reserve, Course Link, or will otherwise be freely available via OMNI or Google search.

**Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**