SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H278 Muslim Societies in West Africa

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year


  • This Module is capped at 30 places
  • Students enrol via the on-line Module Sign-up system. Students are advised of the timing of this process via email by the Dept. administrator

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the circumstances and events that formed the history of Islam in Africa; how Islam shaped but was also shaped by African cultures; how changes in the wider Muslim world have affected African Muslims;
  • The ability to identify key critical issues and historiographical debate in the history of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa and to critically evaluate these in specific regional contexts;
  • Familiarity with historical literature and skills in applying critical tools in oral and written presentations
  • The proficiency to present the results of student’s own research in an articulate way that stimulates group discussion and peer cooperation;
  • The ability to research and write an essay using appropriate scholarly language and critical tools;
  • The capability to draw upon the skills and knowledge acquired during the course to answer examination essay questions.


One hour lecture and one hour tutorial each week (22 weeks)

Scope and syllabus

This course is designed to provide the students with a broad understanding of the situation of Islam and Muslim societies in Sub-Saharan Africa from c. the 8th century AD to the present. It will explore how Islam shaped but was also shaped by African cultures and how changes in the wider Muslim world have affected African Muslims. Students will study regional processes of Islamisation and examine the variety of Islamic experiences on the continent. Focusing on case studies and specific regional contexts, the course will explore jihadic and reform movements, African sufisms, slavery and Islam, Islam under European colonial rule, gender and Islam, Islamic Law in Africa, African Muslims in the diaspora, Islam and the State, contemporary Muslim communities in urban spaces. The aim of the course is to provide students with an empirical and interpretive foundation for further studies of African history and Muslim societies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour exam worth 50%, one 3,000 word essay worth 15%, one 3,000 word essay worth 25% and oral presentation/class discussion worth 10%.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules