Summer 2021 - HIST 485 D100

Studies in History I (4)

Food and Culture in African History

Class Number: 3494

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Special topics.


African Food Histories

Food is a culturally constructed and historically grounded concept. Food production and consumption patterns are potent barometers, and even drivers, of historical and cultural change. In this class, we will examine how historians can use food studies and sources to enrich our knowledge of peoples and patterns in the African past, including global and diasporic movements. After being introduced to foundational literature, students will pursue the African food topic of their choice, shared through through student-led article presentations, discussions, and final project presentations.  The ultimate goal is to bring everyone’s contributions together at the end of the course to appreciate global and temporal patterns, as well as tasty idiosyncrasies.  Topics will include: African innovations in food production, hunters and herders, Islamic trade and mobility, globalizations and the Atlantic trade era, gendered relationships with food, colonial-era food economies, feeding the city, food and religion, and the modern politics of food, including food in the news. Students will be assessed on participation (in Zoom meetings and/or online posts), finding and presenting a scholarly article, and pursuing their research topic through a final project (paper, or alternate project) scaffolded across the book review, proposal, and draft feedback stages such as peer-editing.

Our class will meet mostly synchronously, with some pre-recorded content, and attendance and participation in class meetings is evaluated. 


  • Participation 25%
  • Book Review 15%
  • Presentation and leading of class discussion 20%
  • Research Project (including proposal, draft) 40%



Course readings available online through SFU Library

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).