History of Modern Africa

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 211

       Course Name: History of Modern Africa

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines political, cultural and socio-economic history of Africa from 1885 to the present.  Course includes the end of European colonialism, the emergence of independent African nation states, neo-colonialism, Africa during the Cold War, the rise and fall of African dictatorships, apartheid, ethnicity and genocide, popular movements toward democratization and the impact of globalization.  Individual case studies will focus on South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, role of the African novel, film, music and popular art in understanding the complexities of African history. IAI S2 907N

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, the students should be able to:

  1. Identify the essential historical figures and events of the period covered.
  2. Describe the ethnic, cultural, and political diversity of modern Africa and interpret its historical consequences.
  3. Explain the religious, social, economic, and political ideas that emerged in Africa during the period covered.
  4. Evaluate major religious, literary, and philosophical works produced during the period.
  5. Analyze the relationship between historical events and contemporary issues in the region.
  6. Evaluate conflicting interpretations of the history of modern Africa.
  7. Analyze primary and secondary sources pertaining to the period covered.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Pre-colonial Africa.
  2. The origins of European imperialism and early colonial rule.
  3. Colonial Africa and African resistance movements.
  4. Africa between the wars.
  5. The impact of the Second World War on African nationalist movements.
  6. The struggle for independence and the creation of the African nation state.
  7. Early Cold War politics in Africa.
  8. The collapse of multi-party democracy, the rise of authoritarian regimes, military coups and the development of underdevelopment.
  9. The political, economic and social impact of the end of the Cold War.
  10. African societies in transformation:  AIDS, genocide and grass roots movements toward democracy, 1990 to the present.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12-14 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, and short research papers.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Standard textbooks in modern African history will be used, such as:

Basil Davidson, Modern Africa, Longman, 1995.
Kevin Shillington, History of Africa, St, Martin's Press, 1995.
William Tordoff, Government and Politics in Africa, Indiana University Press, 1993.

Supplementary readings will also be assigned as appropriate, such as:

Howard W. French, A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa, Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
Robert O. Collins, et. al. (Editors), Problems in the History of Modern Africa, Wiener Publishers, Inc., 1996.
Patricia W. Romero, Women's Voices on Africa, Wiener Publishers, Inc., 1992.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.