This course offers students a broad outline of political, economic and social developments in Africa; topics covered will include ancient trade between Africa and the Mediterranean region, the rise of the great medieval empires of Ghana and Mali, the creation of a distinctive Swahili Coast culture and the impact of slavery and slave trade upon African societies. Second, the course will introduce students to the specific tools used by historians in the study of early Africa. In evaluating how best to write the history of non-literate peoples, students will consider, among other possibilities, the use of historical linguistics, archaeology and oral traditions. They will assess the usefulness of Islamic and European sources for African history.
Prerequisites: Students who have HIST 291/293 transfer credit may not take this course.