H110 Introduction to the History of Africa

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History

Module overview

This introductory module surveys the entire sweep of Africa's history, north and south of the Sahara, from the emergence of civilizations to the present day. Themes covered include Ancient Egypt and Nubia, Christianity and Islam in Africa, state and society in Sudanic and in Bantu-speaking Africa, slavery and the slave trades, colonisation and the postcolonial period. The module aims to provide students with a broad foundation for in-depth study of particular themes and regions in the history of the continent in more advanced-level courses. It examines how societies, states, economies and cultures have developed across Africa's diverse environmental zones over the past 5,000 years.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  1. To have gained a broad understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural history of Africa, an appreciation of the nature and impact of the key forces shaping the continent's history, and an awareness of how the deeper past has shaped present-day Africa.
  2. To understand, analyse and discuss primary and secondary sources related to themes across the span of African history.
  3. To express ideas clearly through oral presentations and seminar discussions.
  4. To write clear, persuasive and analytical essays.

Method of assessment

  • Source analysis (AS1) of 750 words - worth 30%
  • Essay, (AS2) of 2,000 words - worth 70%

Suggested reading

  • Curtin, P. et al. African History, 2nd edition (London, 1995);
  • Fage , J. & W. Tordoff. A History of Africa, 4th edition (London, 2001) ;
  • Freund, B. The Making of Contemporary Africa, 2nd edition (Basingstoke, 1998);
  • Iliffe, J. Africans: The history of a continent (Cambridge, 1995);
  • Oliver, R. & A. Atmore. Africa Since 1800 (Cambridge, 1994).


Wayne Dooling


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