Subject: History
Credit units: 3
Offered: Either Term 1 or Term 2
Weekly hours: 3 Lecture hours
College: Arts and Science
Department: History


Africa is often portrayed as the “dark continent”, a place of poverty, disease and war. Yet, this is far from the historical reality. This course will show that Africa and Africans had an important role to play in global history. We begin with the journey of the first hominids out of Africa and then look at the centralization of power and building of powerful Iron Age trading kingdoms. The course also looks at the social, cultural and religious beliefs of African people and later investigate the development of new pluralistic societies which integrated newcomers and local people into global trading networks. We then consider one of the central debates of Southern African history, the Mfecane: the period in which Shaka waged wars across the Southern African interior and the “empty land myth”. We end by looking at the slave trade both internally and the trading of slaves out of Africa.

Prerequisite(s): 3 credit units HIST at the 100-level or 30 credit units of University.
Note: Students with credit for HIST 245.6 may not take this course for credit.

Upcoming class offerings

For full details about upcoming courses, refer to the class search tool or, if you are a current student, the registration channel in PAWS.


Examples of current or recently-offered class syllabus material can be found on the Open CourseWare website.

The syllabus is a public document that provides detail about a class, such as the schedule of activities, learning outcomes, and weighting of assignments and examinations. Please note that the examples provided in Open CourseWare do not represent a complete set of current or previous syllabus material. Rather, they are presented solely for the purpose of indicating what may be required for a given class.

For more information about syllabi, visit the Academic Courses Policy.