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Activating the Past: Heritage, Sources & Public History of Africa


Admission requirements

No admission requirements.


History is never self-evident or unambiguous. What is seen as history is always an interpretation of the past based on the interpretation of available sources. Without sources to verify stories about the past, there is no history and stories are fictional. Sources anchor history in the past and they form the building blocks with which history can be constructed.

Central to this course is the study of different types of sources that form a basis of academically relevant historiography of Africa. To this end, students visit museums, archives and libraries, each time asking the following questions:

  1. WHO produced (wrote, drew, photographed, made etc.) the source?

  2. WHAT is the source? Is it written, typed, spoken, drawn, photographed, sculpted, etc?

  3. WHEN was the source produced?

  4. WHERE was the source produced?

  5. WHY was the source produced?

Each of these five points can be further developed and expanded: the answer to these questions provides insight into what the source can tell us about that past.
Part of this course are the meetings on academic skills (including reading strategies and academic integrity) provided by the EFSA.

Course objectives

**General Learning Objectives:

  • The student can organize and process relatively large amounts of information.

  • The student can critically reflect on knowledge and insights laid down in professional scientific literature

**Learning objectives, specific to the specialisation:

The student has gained knowledge of the specialisation(s) to which the BA-Lecture belongs, more specifically:

  • in the General History specialisation for the placement of post-1500 European history in a global perspective; in particular, the development and role of political institutions; particularly on the track American History for American Exceptionalism; the US as a multicultural society and its elaboration in historiography; the intellectual interaction between the US and Europe; and in particular in the track History of European Expansion and Globalisation for the emergence of global networks that bring about an increasingly intensive circulation of people, animals, crops, goods and ideas, and the central role of European expansion in this from around 1500;

**Learning objectives, specific to this BA Course:

The student:

  • Learns about which sources are important for African History.

  • Is able to assess and test a variety of sources, whether written, visual, spoken or material, for validity and usefulness for writing academic texts related to the history of Africa.

  • Is able to present and evaluate the results of the assessment of specific sources used for writing African history both orally and in writing.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Field visits

Assessment method


All learning objectives of the BA course are tested by means of two sub-tests:

  • Subtest 1 (Written assignment)

  • Subtest 2 (Written assignment)


Assessment takes place by means of a written report on the sources of the 'field visits' (20%) and one essay exam.

In order to successfully complete the course, the student must have handed in both assignments, and must have obtained at least a 3 for both assignments. If the weighted final grade is lower than a 5.5, the student can take 1 resit exam, the result of which will be 100% of the final grade.

Only tests weighing more than 50% of the final grade can be retaken. All can participate in the re-examination if the final grade is insufficient.


Insufficient partial tests can be retaken. The resit takes place at one exam moment, at which the partial tests are offered. The re-examination can only be taken if the final mark is insufficient; moreover, only insufficient partial tests can be resit.

Inspection and feedback

At the latest when the results of the exam are announced, it will be indicated how and at what time the review of the assignments will take place. In any case, a review will be organized if a student requests this within 30 days after the announcement of the results.

Reading list

To be announced. All readers will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through [My Studymap] (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats



Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.
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