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HIST 271: Africa before 1800

Term: Fall

Credits: 4

Degree Requirements: F3 F9 Africana Studies Elective

Major requirement: History of Africa/Middle East
This course will examine Africa from its early history to the end of eighteenth century, studying such topics as the rise and fall of Africa's ancient kingdoms, African peoples and their links with the outside world, the introduction of Christianity and Islam, and Africa in the era of slave trade. We will consider major political, economic, and social changes that took place in Africa during this period and examine the experiences of Africans. In particular, we will examine a wide range of social and cultural as well as technological and economic changes in Africa before the impact of outside contacts and influences. We will also explore the relationships between Africans and people living in other regions of the world, such as Europe and the Middle East. Our core themes in this course involve power, trade, and the production of social and cultural orders locally as well as the broader development of global systems around the African continent. We will deal primarily but not exclusively with regions now south of the formidable Sahara Desert, and the influence that Africa had on the edges of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans arenas. Students completing this course will develop a broad understanding of how various African societies evolved before 1800; discover the important position of precolonial Africa within local and global historical processes; interpret primary sources from major themes and episodes in African history within their own particular social, cultural, political, and economic contexts; and demonstrate the ability to analyze and discuss material dealing with Africa’s past in writing.

Prerequisites: none.