HISTORY 246 - Africa to 1850
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Africa, the ‘Dark Continent’ of the Western imagination, was long portrayed in the West as a land without history. In this course we debunk the myths, exploring African civilization and culture in the centuries before European colonialism. Africa is very large — 3 ½ times the size of the continental U.S. — so covering roughly five millennia of its history could never be accomplished in an exhaustive way for the whole of the continent in fourteen Weeks! Our approach will be to explore this history through five regional case studies each highlighting particular themes:

I. Ancient Northeast Africa: The African origins of the grandeur of Ancient Egypt, the majesty of medieval Christian Nubia and Ethiopia and how the importance of Africans in the ancient world has been erased.
II. West Africa: Some of the largest and wealthiest empires of the middles ages were in West Africa, how did these large empires arise and what brought an end to the age of empire?
III. West-Central Africa: The Rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the changing place of Africans in World History, and the continuation of African history in the Americas.
IV. East Africa and the Swahili coast: The glittering merchant cities of the Swahili coast and the complex societies of the East African interior.
V. Southern Africa: African kingdoms and societies, the beginnings of European Colonialism, the origins of racial divisions in modern South Africa.

While much of the course focuses on the political history of the continent, religious history is a key component in each of the regional case studies. Islam, Christianity, and traditional African religions have all been central to African life. In each unit we will also focus a great deal of attention on African society and culture, and the ways in which ordinary African men and women shaped history.

Intended Audience:

This is an introductory course. Anyone interested in the history of modern Africa is welcome.

HISTORY 246 - Africa to 1850
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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