Fall 2016 - HIST 348 D100

A History of Twentieth Century South Africa (4)

Class Number: 4765

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 4120, Burnaby

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 4140, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: at least one of HIST 146, 231.



An examination of the economic, social and political history of 20th century South Africa. Particular attention will be paid to the factors which led to the rise of apartheid.


The Making of Twentieth-Century South Africa: Land, Labour & Liberty

The racism and oppression institutionalized in South Africa’s Apartheid State (1948-1990) was the product of historical forces set in motion with the arrival of Dutch settlers three hundred years earlier. In this course we will investigate how racially-drawn identities and economic relations forged by the beginning of the 20th C led to the politics of segregation, culminating in Apartheid. Special emphasis will be placed on investigating how South Africa and South Africans have been portrayed through film: during “Film Fridays” we will view eight presentations, representing both dramatic and documentary film-making. 

In the first half of this course, we will survey South Africa’s early settlement history, including: the development of Khoisan-speaking gatherer-hunters and pastoralists, the arrival of Bantu farmers, Dutch and British colonialism, African and Boer statebuilding, the discovery of mineral wealth, the South African War, and ultimately the Union of South Africa by 1910. In the second half of the class, our attention will focus on African experiences of and resistance to government legislated segregation and Apartheid. We will address how and why black majority rule in South Africa was suppressed for decades after most African nations had achieved independence, and investigate the conditions that led to the breakdown of Apartheid and the first democratic election in 1994. The class will end with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and contemplation of the future for South Africans.  We will draw information from a textbook as well as primary and secondary historical sources, film, literature, and current news sources to gain multiple perspectives on South Africa’s conflicted past.

Prerequisites 45 Units including 9 credits of lower-division History courses or permission of the instructor; Hist 146 (Modern Africa) and/or Hist 231 (Ancient Africa) are useful but not required.


  • Tutorial Participation 25%
  • Film Analysis 10%
  • In-Class Quizzes 30%
  • Research Paper 35%



Berger, Iris, South Africa in World History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Crais, Clifton and Thomas McClendon, The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2013)

Mathabane, Mark, Kaffir Boy (New York: Touchstone, 1998)

Mda, Zakes, Heart of Redness (Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1995)


Krog, Antjie, Country of My Skull (Three Rivers Press, 2000)

Registrar Notes:

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