Course Details

HIST 183: History of Early West Africa

This course surveys the history of West Africa during the pre-colonial period from 790 to 1590. It chronicles the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. We will examine the transition from decentralized to centralized societies, the relations between nomadic and settler groups, the institution of divine kingship, the emergence of new ruling dynasties, the consolidation of trade networks, and the development of the classical Islamic world. Students will learn how scholars have used archeological evidence, African oral traditions, and the writings of Muslim travelers to reconstruct this important era of West African history.
6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2021-2022