Spring 2018 - HIST 344 D100

Themes in Modern East Africa (4)


Class Number: 3310

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    WMC 3220, 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.


Cosmopolitan Pasts, Nationalist Modernities

East Africa spans broadly the Horn of Africa south through the Swahili coast to Mozambique, as far inland as the Great Lakes region. This course will focus on the histories of people living in what are today Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda — states that have been shaped by the ideas, technologies, and societies of other parts of Africa, the Middle East, India, China, and the West. We will first survey how peoples of East Africa negotiated their relations with outside influences in the spheres of religion (Islam, Christianity, indigenous traditions) and trade (foods, technologies, luxuries, slaves) in the pre-modern period. How did the diverse peoples of the region draw on old and new identities in their experience of, and resistance to, imperialism (Arab and European)? Then, in examining the emergence of modern statehood and postcolonial governance, we will focus on the roles of ethnic and civic nationalisms, to the end of the 20th century. The unfolding of nationalist narratives is richly complicated by differences of class, region, and gender — often best captured in civil society’s literary accounts. We will explore these themes not only through primary documents and the course texts, but also through film, novels, poetry, and contemporary news stories.


  • Analytical Reports (2) 30%
  • Presentation & Participation 30%
  • Final Paper 40%





East Africa: An Introductory History. Robert Maxon.  3rd ed.  West Virginia University Press. 2009. ISBN 9781933202464.

African History in Documents: Eastern African History.  Robert O. Collins. Markus Weiner, 1990. ISBN 1558760165.

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