About this course
Africa is extremely diverse and dynamic. By 2050, the continent is projected to host more than a quarter of the world population. While poverty and conflict continue to undermine the livelihoods and aspirations of many, Africans also widely participate in diffuse processes of economic growth, social transformation and democratization. To understand the current state of Africa, we need to know its rich and complex modern history. This course addresses various key themes in African history since c. 1800: states and societies on the eve of colonial rule; slave trade, slavery and emancipation; religion and education; colonization, nationalism and decolonization; and social, political and urban transformations in post-colonial Africa. Alongside a comprehensive textbook and additional lecture material, we will read texts by African authors, such as novels and political essays, to include a broad range of voices. While pursuing an understanding of how changes in the 19th and 20th century have shaped today’s Africa, this course also provides students with skills to do the work of historical analysis in the form of an essay.
After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- identify the most important internal and external factors that have shaped Africans’ historical experiences;
- distinguish and compare different scholarly perspectives on key topics in African modern history;
- appraise the differentiated history of the African continent and of its people;
- apply historical methods to evaluate a chosen aspect of African history in the form of an essay.