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History: Africa


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course is designed to provide a general introduction to the history of Africa from the ancient times to the indepencence from colonial imperialism.

Issues covered during the course will be:


  • Physical Context of African History: Geography and Environment

  • Africa and Human Origins

  • Egyptian, Greek, Roman Civilisations

  • Christianity and Islam


  • Slavery and the Creation of the Atlantic World

  • African societies, economies and states from 1500 to 1880

  • Colonialism and African Resistance

  • Africa, Economic Changes and the World System

  • Political Change in the Time of Colonialism

  • African Culture in the Modern World

  • Political Economy of Decolonization and Independence

  • Pan-Africanism and other Ideaologies

Course objectives

In its most general terms, this course seeks to familiarize students with the history of Africa and offer them a historical context for understanding Africa today. This entails that students will have a good grasp of the general chronology of the history of the continent; they will have a broad understanding of both the history of African societies and that of the transnational dynamics that shaped the region. On a methodological level, students will be encouraged to question received wisdom and challenge established knowledge on Africa by critically engaging with the mainstream discourses on Africa.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per two weeks: 12 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 64 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)

Final exam:

  • Written examination with both closed questions (eg multiple choice) and written examination with short open questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the average of mid- and end term exams (70%) has to be 5.5 at least.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Erik Gilbert & Jonathan Reynolds, Africa in World History (3rd edition), Pearson, 2012

  • Colin McEvedy, The Penguin Atlas of African History (new edition), Penguin, 1995

  • Further written and video material will be distributed to students via Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. S. Bellucci