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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 antiquity to the present.
Issues covered during the course will be:

  • Understanding African past

  • The origins of mankind

  • Food production and the impact of metal

  • Antiquity in Africa

  • Christianity and Islam

  • Societies and statehood in the 19th century

  • Colonialism conquest and partition

  • Colonial economies and colonial societies

  • Atlantic slave trade and slavery

  • Nationalism and Pan-Africanism

  • Independence, ideologies, and the Cold War

  • Neoliberalism and “the rule of markets”

  • The case of South Africa

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.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
Hours spent on attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks + hours on attending tutorials 2 hours per two weeks x 6: 36 hrs
Time for studying the compulsory literature: 60 hours
Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 44 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 35%
Final Exam 35%

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.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


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

  • John Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (2nd edition), Cambridge University Press 2007

  • Colin McEvedy, The Penguin Atlas of African History (revised edition), Penguin Books 1996

  • Further readings and audiovisual material will be distributed during the course and uploaded on Blackboard

Ex-gratia (reccomended but not required):

  • Robert O. Collins (ed.), Documents from the African Past, Markus Wiener Pub. 2001

  • Walter Rodney, How Europe Unverdeveloped Africa, (several publishers) 1972

  • Frederick Cooper, Africa in the World: Capitalism, Empire, Nation, Harvard University Press 2014

  • Adu Boahen, African Perspectives on Colonialism, Diasporic Africa Press 2011


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, email