Introduction to African History (HIST*2180) | College of Arts

Introduction to African History (HIST*2180)

Code and section: HIST*2180*01

Term: Fall 2023


Course Format: 3 x 1 hour lecture/discussions per week

Course Synopsis:

This course will introduce students to the history of Africa through a chronological examination of key themes and topics from the earliest times until the recent post-independence period. Highlighting the interdisciplinary methodology that anchors African history, the course will consider archeological evidence, oral traditions, historical linguistics, and written documents in its examination of the most significant developments of the African past. These developments will include the creation of modern human culture, early state building efforts, the introduction of Christianity and Islam, the Atlantic Slave trade, colonialism and nationalism, and Africa’s relationship with globalization. The course will enable students to develop an understanding of historical factors that have shaped and continue to influence the history of the African continent.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, student will have learned to:

  • be conversant with major themes in the history of Africa. 
  • examine and apply African perspectives to the historical scholarship on the experiences of the continent.
  • critically analyze and synthesize information about Africa from extant sources. 
  • develop writing and oral presentation skills.
  • distinguish between and evaluate primary and secondary source evidence in historical analysis of the history of Africa.



Method of Evaluation and Weights:

Written Assignments 

  • 10% - Quiz
  • 20% - Group presentation    
  • 20% - Midterm exam 
  • 20% - Essay proposal and annotated bibliography (including primary sources)
  • 30% - Essay.

Texts Required/Recommended:

  • Robert Harms, Africa in Global History with Sources (W.W. Norton & Company, 2018)
  • Christopher Ehret, The Civilizations of Africa: A history to 1800 (University of Virginia Press 2002) [available via OMNI]

*Please note: This is a preliminary website 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.