African Studies Courses

The following African studies courses are accepted for the African studies combined major and minor.

101.         Introduction to African Studies: History and Development.

This course serves as a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to the study of Africa. Course materials and readings are designed to give special emphasis to African initiatives and perspectives in shaping their own history. African interactions in a global context are emphasized to highlight issues such as the Atlantic  slave trade and colonization. Other topics include cultural diversity, geography and environment, religious expression and development.  At the end of the course students will be able to see how Africans have participated in world historical events and explain the many forces that have shaped African societies over the past 500 years. Also offered as HIST 108.

225.        Peoples and Cultures of Africa.

This course surveys contemporary peoples and cultures in sub-Saharan Africa through the lens of three major themes. We will study the enduring importance and flexibility of African systems of social organization, and their relationship to religious beliefs and practices. We will learn about patterns of production and consumption in African economies, and about power, authority and conflict in African politics.  Throughout, we note the centrality of social relationships to everyday life on the continent, and the ways that mobility and migration, forced or voluntary, temporary or permanent, have shaped African identities and communities. Also offered as ANTH 225.

294.         Medicine & Empire: Global Health in Historical Perspective

Practices of healing and promoting health are embedded in broader social relations and provide a rich source of material for historical inquiry. In this course we examine the ways medicine and human health are shaped by relations of power and structures of inequality, paying particular attention to: (1) the roles played by medical practitioners and medical ideas in modern imperialism and in resistance to it; (2) the lasting effects of imperial and anti-imperial perspectives on the contemporary field of global health. Our focus will be on European colonial rule since the eighteenth century and its global legacies. Class materials will draw particularly on examples from sub-Saharan Africa. Counts towards the Public Health minor and fulfills the DIV13 and HU requirements. Also offered as HIST 294.

Departmental Offerings


225.        Peoples and Cultures of Africa.

251.        Humans and Other Animals

341.        Popular Culture in Africa.

425.        Environmental Conservation in Africa.

Art and Art History

215.                       West African Arts.

246.        Art and Politics in Nigeria.


228.        African Economies.

336.        Economic Development.

Global Studies

262.        Africa and Globalization.


220.        African Politics.

290.        Foreign Aid (this section of GOVT 290 only)

328.        Political Institutions in the Developing World


108.        Introduction to African Studies: History and Development.

251.        Senegal and the World

252.        Conflict in Africa.

294.        Medicine & Empire: Global Health in Historical Perspective

299.        Seminar on Historical Research Methods, when relevant.

308.        European Imperialisms.

480.        SYE: Contemporary Africa.

World Languages, Cultures, and Media


101.        Elementary Arabic.

102.        Elementary Arabic.

103.        Intermediate Arabic.

104.        Intermediate Arabic.

Francophone Studies

229.        Reading the Congo.

426.        SEM: Francophone Africa.


101,102. Elementary Swahili.

Students wishing to go on the Kenya program are strongly encouraged to take 101 before they leave. Swahili is a required course on the Kenya program and is offered at various levels. Swahili is also offered occasionally above the 102 level via independent study.


Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

308.        Critical Aspects of Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages.


210.        Musics of the World.


232.        Africana Philosophy.


310.        Slavery, Race and Culture.

Off-Campus Program Courses

France Program Courses

279.        Culture of Francophone Africa.

Kenya Semester Courses

Swahili is required, as is AFS 337 (Culture, Ecology and Development in East Africa), which is offered only on the Kenya Program.

Other courses offered in Kenya vary according to student demand and availability of instructors. Recent offerings have included courses that count for both African studies and the following departmental credit: anthropology, biology, conservation biology, environmental studies, gender studies, global studies, government, history and sociology. For more on the current offerings in Kenya see