Spring 2016 - HIST 231 D100

History of Africa to the 19th Century: From Ancient Times to the Slave Trade (3)

Class Number: 4193

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 4150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 16, 2016
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 3005, Burnaby



A general, introductory survey of Africa's rich pre-colonial past, its vibrant cultures and sophisticated technologies, far-reaching commercial and political networks, and dynamic (and internally differentiated) social systems. Also discusses the trans-Atlantic trade in African slaves and the arrival of Europeans on African shores. Breadth-Humanities.


Pre-Colonial Africa: Global and Local Histories

In this class we will explore African experiences in pre-colonial history, from the early civilizations of the Nile through to the Atlantic trade era, focusing on transformations and early globalization in African societies. Students will be introduced to diverse topics in early African history, including: early states in Egypt and Meroë, metallurgy and the Bantu expansion, introduction and spread of Islam and Christianity, Saharan and Sahelian trade routes, Muslim trading societies of the Swahili coast, pastoral kingdoms of highland southern Africa, Northern Africa and the Ottoman World, West/Central African kingdoms and the rise of Atlantic Trade, and early white settler societies in Southern Africa. Students will also learn about how scholars have used and understood sources of the African past, including documents, oral histories, linguistics, monuments and materials. In lectures and tutorials we will draw information from a textbook as well as primary sources, scholarly articles, African literature, film, and current news sources to gain multiple perspectives on Africa’s rich, and contested, pre-colonial past.


  • Tutorial Participation (incl. 5% geography quiz) 25%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Primary Source Analysis 25%
  • Final Exam 25%



Erik Gilbert and Jonathan Reynolds, Africa in Global History, 3rd Ed., Pearson, 2011.

Djibril Tamsir Niane, Sundiata: An Epic Of Old Mali, 2nd Ed., Pearson, 2006.

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

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