Accueil > Introduction to African History since 1800


Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

This course will introduce students to the history of Africa south of the Sahara, from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. It will help students to understand the role of Africans in modern history, including the slave-trade, industrial capitalism, colonialism, neoliberalism, and the revival of Christianity and Islam. The first part focuses on the nineteenth century, and the economic and social reconversion of African polities after the abolition of the slave-trade. The second part discusses the European conquest and the colonial era, including the struggles for independence and freedom. The last part brings the course to the present time, reviewing some of Africa's major challenges and hopes today. Besides social and political issues, we will challenge popular misunderstandings about environmental control and pandemics in Africa; explore the reasons why foreigners keep investing in Africa, and explore the relation between development and hyper-debt. The course does not strive for exhaustive coverage, but considers a variety of case-studies. Though we will cover nearly every major region and sub-period within these cases, some will receive particular attention in an effort to balance breadth and depth of historical knowledge.


  • AYMÉ, Prunelle (Doctorante contractuelle)
  • BERNAULT, Florence (Professeur des universités)

Pedagogical format


Course validation

- A two-page, single spaced review of one of the novels listed in the Bibliography (45%) - A final written exam (2 hours), with a choice between two questions (55%). Please note that the exam will take place at the end of the semester during the period dedicated to the exams at Sciences Po. - Starting week 2, students choose a question from the preceding week and answer it in a couple paragraphs, making sure you support their answer with examples from the readings and/or lectures. The answer must be uploaded online each Tuesday by 5:00 pm. The work won't be graded but, depending on its quality, it will represent a bonus or a malus of 1 point on the final average


- Approx. 2 hours weekly to do the reading, to read notes and review the PPT, and to prepare the weekly questions

Required reading

  • Cooper, Frederick. Africa since 1940. The Past of the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002
  • Des Forges, Alison. "Leave None to Tell the Story": Genocide in Rwanda. New York, Paris: Human Rights Watch; International Federation of Human Rights, 1999
  • Ellis, Stephen, and Gerrie Ter Haar. Worlds of Power: Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth (1963: Présence africaine), New York: Grove Press, 2004
  • Nolen, Stephanie. 28 Stories of Aids in Africa, New York: Walker & Co., 2007

Plans de cours et bibliographies