Spring 2019 - HIST 231 D100

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

Class Number: 3934

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 10921, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2019
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, 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.


In this class we will explore African experiences in early history, from the 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 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: (inc. 5% geography quiz) 25%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Primary Source Analysis 25%
  • Final Exam 25%



Kevin Shillington, History of Africa, 3rd Ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart. (any edition)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html