HIST 203
Introduction to African History, 1800-Present Fall 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

This survey explores some of the major themes in the history of continental Africa since 1800. While prominent figures and major events will be covered, the course emphasizes the experience of African women and other groups of people who often faced marginalization at various points over the past two centuries. To paint a richer picture of this expansive history, historical scholarship will be studied alongside autobiographical testimonies, films, songs, music videos, and podcasts. The beginning of the course looks at the extremely diverse political, social, and cultural conditions that shaped the lives of people in Africa in the nineteenth century. Particular attention will be paid to the changes brought about during this time by the slave trades, the spread of Islam, and new forms of African political organization. The second section shifts to look at the impact of European imperialism and African responses to the imposition of colonial rule. We will examine how colonialism produced major changes in African societies, even as colonial authorities often insisted that Africans remain locked within a mythical, unchanging past. The third section of the course turns to the rise of anti-colonial struggles and the fall of formal colonialism and apartheid in Africa from the 1950s to 1990s. Lastly, we will assess the trajectories of postcolonial African societies, examining contemporary issues such as new expressions of religious faith, conflicts over wealth inequality and political power, cultural decolonization, and changing health and environmental realities in the twenty-first century.
The Class: Format: lecture; discussion
Limit: 40
Expected: 20
Class#: 1201
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three essays of 5-7 pages spaced evenly throughout the semester, a map quiz, discussion participation
Prerequisites: none; no prior knowledge of African history required; open to all students
Enrollment Preferences: students interested in History or Africana Studies
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course focuses on the inequalities produced in Africa (and globally) by the international trade in African captives and later, the new structures of power and exploitation established under colonial rule. The class explores how race, gender, class, ethnicity, and religion were pivotal to these forms of inequality in Africa, many of which persist today.
Attributes: HIST Group A Electives - Africa

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