Fall 2021 - HIST 348 D100

A History of Twentieth Century South Africa (4)

Class Number: 3961

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Tue, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six 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.


Southern Africa in Regional Historical Context

While Canadian students may know this region from the racism, hetero-patriarchal sexism, violence, and oppression institutionalized in South Africa’s Apartheid State (1948-1990), this history is best told in broader regional and chronological context. In this course we will investigate how racially-drawn identities and economic relations were shaped by imperialism, settler colonialism, and white minority rule, and how local African individuals and social movements responded in multiple ways. We will draw on the Mlambo and Parsons text as well as primary and secondary historical sources, film, literature, and current news sources to gain multiple perspectives on Southern Africa’s conflicted past. How is South Africa similar to, and different from, other Southern African nations, or indeed white settler states world-wide?



  • Seminar Discussions 20%
  • Student Contributions (Southern Africa in the News, “On this day”, Music, Recipes, etc) 5%
  • Source Analysis Presentations (Book club or Film club) 15%
  • Essay Quizzes (2) 30%
  • Final Research Project 30%



(Available via SFU bookstore and online)

Mlambo, Alois S. and Neil Parsons, A History of Southern Africa (MacMillan, 2018); ebook available through macmillenihe.com

Crais, Clifton and Thomas McClendon, The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2013); ebook available via SFU library


Tsitsi Dangarembga, The Book of Not, 2006

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

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Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.