HIST3010 Introduction to African History

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit introduces students to the rich history of Africa. While the continent's vast and diverse history cannot be reviewed comprehensively in a single semester, it focuses on a number of key themes and important historical problems in lectures and tutorials. It begins with a discussion of Eurocentrism and the concepts of 'agency' and 'structure', and examines African slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. It explores conflict over land and resources in nineteenth-century southern Africa before turning its attention to the colonial era. The unit concentrates on the variety of African responses to European colonialism: violent resistance to European conquest in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; accommodation with colonial rulers once European rule was secured and the Mau Mau uprising in late colonial Kenya; the controversial politics of female circumcision in Kenya; Idi Amin's dictatorship in Uganda and the emergence of the Black Consciousness Movement in apartheid South Africa; and the terrible genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the continuing humanitarian catastrophe in the Congo. The unit also focuses on the themes of agency and structure in the unfolding of African history, and in lectures and workshops students pay special attention to the important roles played by African historical actors, as well as the way in which material circumstances limited their freedom of action.
Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic methodological issues characteristic of the discipline of History; (2) identify and evaluate the methodological problems posed by historical accounts of Africa that emphasise African agency and/or structural conditions as the primary motor of historical change in the continent; (3) demonstrate a detailed understanding of important themes in the history of Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; (4) analyse a range of primary sources, especially those that represent Africans from a Eurocentric perspective; (5) relate their independent interpretations to complex historiographical debates about the history of Africa; and (6) present advanced arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) workshop participation; (2) test; and (3) written assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jeremy Martens
Unit rules
a Level 2 History unit
EURO2201 European Civilisation
GEND2902 Men and Masculinities in History
HIST2247 Introduction to African History
Contact hours
3 hours per week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.