Harcourt Fuller, Ph.D.

HIST 3650 - Africa & the World

In an ever-interconnected world, one cannot fully and accurately understand the dynamics of contemporary African societies without first exploring the development of African civilizations in ancient times. To comprehend the continent, we must begin by investigating the contributions that Africa and Africans have made to humanity and how the continent and its peoples have impacted world history. Likewise, African history has been heavily influenced by other civilizations across time and space. This course explores some of the major socio-political, cultural and economic episodes of Africa’s complex history and engagement with the world from ancient times to the present.

​Taking a few of the major kingdoms and empires of Ancient Africa as a starting point, the course interrogates the nature of inter-African relations as well as the interactions between the continent and the wider world over the last few millennia. These historical developments continue to have an impact on Africa’s present and future societies. The interrelated and interwoven topics to be covered will include the kingdoms of Ancient Egypt and Nubia; the Swahili Coast and the Indian Ocean Trade; the West African kingdoms/empires of Ancient Ghana, Mali and Songhai; the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its legacies today; the development of the African Diaspora in historical and contemporary perspective; European missionaries and explorers in Africa; European colonialism in Africa; anti-colonial nationalism; the impact of the Great Depression on Africa; Africans and the First and Second World Wars, and the implications of those conflicts for the continent and its people; super-power rivalries in Africa during the Cold War; Africa, the Third World and the Non-Aligned Movement; Africa and the international financial system, including the advent of colonial currencies, the World Bank and the IMF; Africa and the West in the post-Cold War era; Africa and the former Soviet bloc; China and Africa; Cuba  in Africa; Islam and Africa; International governing bodies in Africa, such as the League of Nations and its successor organization, the United Nations; and African cultures on the world stage, especially soccer, the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood), and Afrobeat music.

​Our country case studies will include Cameroon, Congo/Zaire, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, the Sudan, Tanzania, Côte d'Ivoire, as well as the African Diaspora in the United States and Latin America.

Required Texts
​Jonathan T. Reynolds and Erik Gilbert, Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present, Third Edition (Prentice Hall: NJ, 2012). ISBN13: 978-0-205-05399-5.

D.T. Niane, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, Revised Edition (Longman, UK, 2006). ISBN13: 978-1405849425. 

Olaudah Equiano, The Life Of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1999). ISBN13: 978-0-486-40661-9.

​Ousmane Sembéne, God's Bits of Wood (Longman, 2008). ISBN-13: 978-0435909598.