Modern Africa

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
Hist 1120
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
History 1120 is a survey of the broad political, economic, social, and cultural patterns that have shaped the diverse and complex histories of sub-Saharan Africa from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. Major themes include: an introduction to land, people and climate; the slave trade; the impact of colonialism and imperialism; modernity, nationalism and the long struggle for independence; de-colonization, neo-colonialism and foreign aid; ethnicity, gender, health and sexuality in contemporary Africa; economic development and globalization; and current challenges facing diverse African nations.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1.  Setting the Scene:  Land, People and Climate
  2.  African Civilizations and External Impact
  3.  The Slave Trade
  4.  Colonial Advances and the Missionary Factor: Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and Portugal
  5.  Land, Settlement and Resistance:  South Africa and Kenya
  6.  Economic Development to 1945:  Nigeria and Tanzania
  7.  Assessing the Impact of Indirect Rule
  8.  Towards Independence:  From Protest to Uhuru
  9.  Neo-Colonialism and its Ramifications
  10.  Independence and Diverse Development Strategies:  Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria
  11.  The Long Road to Freedom:  Rwanda and Tanzania
  12.  After Apartheid:  The Re-invention of South Africa
  13.  Intersecting Identities: Ethnicity, Religion, Gender, Health and Sexuality in Contemporary Africa
  14.  Development, Aid and Autonomy: Independent Africa?


Learning Activities

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the DouglasCollege student evaluation policy. Specific components of evaluation will include some of the following: mid-term and final exams consisting of short answer questions and essay questions; in-class written work, quizzes, research paper; seminar presentations; short debate/position papers; participation in class discussions.

Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods. 

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Any combination of the following totalling 100%

Short essay assignment 10%

Primary source analyses 10%

Seminar Presentation 10%

Mid-term examination 20%

Major research essay 20%

Participation 10%

Final examination 20%


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

1.     Examine historical sources critically and analytically (reading history). These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources.

2.     Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history). Forms for communication of personal interpretations include medium-length essays (from 1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, short interpretive essays, primary source studies, and final examinations.

3.     Independently analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).

Textbook Materials

Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

An instructor’s Course Reader may be required.

Cooper, Frederick. Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Decker, Alicia C. Africanizing Democracies, 1980-Present. African World Histories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Fage, John, with William Tordoff. A History of Africa. 4th ed. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Falola, Toyin, ed. African Cultures and Societies Before 1885. Africa, Vol. 2. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2000.

Falola, Toyin, ed. Colonial Africa, 1885-1939. Africa, Vol. 3. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002.

Falola, Toyin, ed. Contemporary Africa. Africa, Vol. 5. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002.

Falola, Toyin, ed. The End of Colonial Rule: Nationalism and Decolonization. Africa, Vol. 4. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002.

Gilbert, Erik, and Jonathan Reynolds. Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson, 2012.

Khapoya, Vincent B. The African Experience. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson, 2013.

Konadu, Kwasi. Transatlantic Africa, 1440-1888. African World Histories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Laumann, Dennis. Colonial Africa, 1884-1994. African World Histories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Parker, John, and Richard Rathbone. African History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Reid, Richard J. A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. (ebook available)

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa, 3rd ed.New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa: Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy. 5th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. (ebook available)

Web-based Resources

Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Africa History Sourcebook,

The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database









Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 1120
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 1XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HIST 1XX (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN HIST 205 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 1XX (3)
Coquitlam College (COQU) COQU HIST 1XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 1XXX (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC HIS 2XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 146 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 1XXX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 256 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 205 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 1XX (3)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 1st (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023