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Unit information: Reading African History in 2018/19

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Unit name Reading African History
Unit code HIST20104
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Saima Nasar
Open unit status Not open



HIST23008 Special Field Project

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces students to the history of Africa. Attention is paid to the diverse sources and methods that scholars have used to investigate Africa’s past and to challenge the characterisation of Africa as a continent without history. Students will learn how Africa’s history has been connected to that of other parts of the world through trade, religion, migration and cultural exchange. Key themes and issues in African history will be explored through the more detailed study of selected areas of the continent.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

1.Identify and analyse a number of key themes and contexts in African history.

2.Critically discuss and evaluate the historiographical debates that surround the subject

3.Critically assess and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points

4.Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level I/5

Teaching details

1 x two-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 x 2 hour exam (100%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

John Parker, Richard Rathbone, African history: a very short introduction (2007)

John Iliffe, Africans: the history of a continent (2007)

Basil Davidson, West Africa before the colonial era: a history to 1850 (1998)

Elizabeth Allo Isichei, A history of African societies to 1870 (1997)

Kathleen Sheldon, African Women: Early History to the 21st Century (2017)