Spring 2017 - HIST 344 D100

Themes in Modern East Africa (4)

East Africa Indian Ocean

Class Number: 3966

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 5037, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Examines the diversity of environments, cultures and livelihoods in East Africa and the Horn in the context of long-term trans-regional influences, especially slave trade, cash cropping, colonization and post-colonial politics, and the expansion of the world religions into East Africa. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 344 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


Eastern Africa in the Indian Ocean World

The Swahili Coast extends along eastern Africa, from Mogadishu to northern Mozambique, connected to the interior through trade routes.  Through Indian Ocean trade and travel, people living in this region have singularly influenced, and been influenced by, the ideas, technologies, and populations of other parts of Africa, Arabia, India, and later Europe and China. We will explore how peoples of Eastern Africa experienced movements of in the spheres of religion (Islam, Christianity, indigenous practices) and trade (foods, technologies, luxuries, and slaves) by the first millennium. Using materials, documents, and oral histories, we will investigate urbanization of muslim Swahili trading towns. Then, we will then compare imperialisms in Eastern Africa (Portuguese, Omani, German, British), and the impact of incoming merchants and labour from Asia. In the decolonization and post-colonial eras, we will contemplate how globalization is positioned relative to emerging ethnic nationalisms, including the famous expulsion of Asians by Uganda’s Idi Amin. We will consider how scholars conceptualize globalizations in the western Indian Ocean in the past and present. These topics will be explored through lectures, discussions, scholarship, primary documents, fiction, film, and current news sources.

Lower-division African History course recommended, but not required.


  • Tutorial: 25%
  • Quizzes (3): 45%
  • Term Paper: 30%



Maxon, Robert M. East Africa (2009, University of Chicago Press)

Collins, Robert O. African History in Documents: Eastern African History (1990, Markus Weiner Publishers) ISBN 978-1558760165.

Vassanji, M.J. The in-between world of Vikram Lall. (various editions)

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