Level: 1

Semester: 1

Prequisites: None


Course Description:

This is a survey course on the history of Africa from the earliest times up to ca. 1000 CE. It introduces students to the ancient history of the continent, including Saharan, Nile valley and sub-Saharan regions, and spanning from the origins and dispersal of the humankind and diffusion of domestication and other technologies to the emergence of the iron-based states (Meroe, Aksum, Nubia, Egypt, the Great Zimbabwe), globalized trade networks (Indian Ocean and Trans-Saharan) and world religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam).  The course also focuses on major scholarly debates and approaches such as European imperialist historiography versus Afrocentrism; Hamitic hypothesis versus black Egypt theory and “scientific” imperialist racism; and the importance of the physical anthropology and genetics for the understanding of the evolution of human skin color and racism. A variety of methodologies and sources such as archaeology, fossil studies, genetics, and historical linguistics are addressed as well.


Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Analyze primary source by reading and identifying the key points, meaning, and significance of arguments and ideas presented in historical documents

2. Analyze secondary source by reading and identifying the key points, meaning, and significance of arguments and ideas presented in books and articles written by scholars

3. Produce written work to develop communication and research skills

4. Provide oral answers to tutorial questions and participate actively in class discussions

5. Identify and use online resources and internet for assignments, including research and analysis of podcasts, documentaries, music and other resources

6. Explain the principal methods and sources for uncovering ancient African history, including archaeology, fossil studies, genetics, physical anthropology, and historical linguistics

7. Assess various scholarly views and approaches to ancient African history

8. Explain the development of Africa as the cradle of humanity

9. Examine the African transition from hunter-gatherers to include a diversity of activities, such as domestication of plants and animals, and development of pastoralism, agriculture, and building of settlements

10. Describe the importance of Bantu migrations and ironworking for the development of ancient Africa

11. Analyze the development of the ancient African civilizations, including Egypt, Aksum, Napata, Meroe, and Swahili enclaves

12. Explain the importance of the Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean trade systems for the development of the ancient Africa.



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