Africa in the Modern World

HIST 252/3.0

Image of a globe with the continent of Africa outlined in lights


A course of this nature is faced with practical, theoretical, and historiographical challenges associated with aiming to cover the history of the second biggest continent over hundreds of years. Such a course can also convey a problematic impression that the ‘history of Africa’ is so limited, sketchy, and marginal that it can be adequately crammed into a single course. Furthermore, the term ‘modern’ itself does not have a determinate temporal boundary. Keeping all of these considerations in mind, the aim of this course is to introduce students to a selection of salient themes in African history in what is loosely termed the ‘modern’ period. This course draws on concepts and historiographical insights from transnational and global histories and locates the history of Africa in its broader global historical context. Another important goal of this course is provide curriculum that is decolonizing, by decentering Eurocentric historiographical traditions and analytical categories, and instead centering African historians, methods, and interpretations.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe major historical developments in Africa
  2. Identify and critically engage with major debates on African history
  3. Historicize contemporary structural problems of underdevelopment, political crisis, civil war, religious and ethnic conflicts in Africa, and problematize conventional media and scholarly coverage of Africa
  4. Summarize and analyze different types of sources on Africa, including oral sources.
  5. Effectively articulate information in written and spoken form
  6. Evaluate historical materials and formulate clear and evidence-based arguments using primary and non-primary sources.