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Modern Africa

Course Code: HIST 1120
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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?

Methods of Instruction

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).

course prerequisites




curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.