The course begins with a historical survey of Africa. We explore the continent's great civilizations and ethnic groups, and then examine Africa's experiences through the slave trade, colonialism, independence, the cold war, and present-day post-cold war situations. We compare how these major events have played out throughout the different regions of Africa, south of the Sahara.
In the second half of the class, we turn to thematic issues that are central to a human-geographic perspective of the continent: population, agricultural livelihood systems, environment and conservation, urbanization, social policies and gender issues. Finally, with a deeper understanding of the region, we consider present-day political hot spots, and critical development problems plaguing the continent.