production
Skip to Content

HI305V: KINGDOMS, CALIPHATES, AND EMPIRES: WEST AFRICA C.1312-1897 (2022-2023)

Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:30


Course Overview

This course explores the history of West Africa from the reign of Mansa Musa in the Mali Empire (c.1312-c.1337) to the British annexation of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897. Its key topics include the rise and fall of African states, cross-cultural exchange between Africans and Europeans, religion and Islamic revolutions, the trans-Atlantic and trans-Saharan slave trades (and their profound impact on African societies), and the steady encroachment of European colonialists upon West African societies.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Richard Anderson

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • HI355V Kingdoms, Caliphates, and Empires: West Africa c.1312-1897 (Passed)

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

West Africa is a culturally, politically, and environmentally diverse region with a traceable history over millennia. This course explores the region’s history from the rise and fall of the Sahelian empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay in early and medieval West Africa to the nineteenth-century age of imperialism. We will explore political innovation, the invention and evolution of empire, the rise of Islam, the role of women in shaping political power, regional integration into trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic trading networks, and the advent of colonial rule and the missionary encounter.

Throughout the course, we will explore West African history through diverse mediums including written texts, oral traditions, art, and the West African collections of the University of Aberdeen Museums & Special Collections. Students will gain a familiarity with analysing early written sources for West African history as well as artworks and sacred objects from West African societies. The course will also broach questions of restitution of West African cultural objects in Western museum collections.

Assessment will include a primary source analysis, an object analysis of one collections item from the University Museums, seminar participation, and a take-home exam.  

Associated Costs

DescriptionValue
Possible transportation costs for Museum collections items. Cost TBD. GBP 0.00

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 8 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Take Home Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks 20 Feedback Weeks 24

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

10 days to complete (online)

Feedback will be in the form of email notification of marks with comments.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to identify and analyse West African objects in museum collections with reference to secondary literature on West African societies.
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to analyse and critically engage with both European written sources and non-archival sources, situating them in terms of context, genre and argument.
FactualAnalyseUnderstand the chronology of West African history from c.1312-1897 and key themes including state formation, cross-cultural exchange, Islamic revolutions, slavery, and colonialism.
ReflectionAnalyseUnderstand the historical context of current debates regarding cultural restitution and the repatriation of West African objects from Western museum collections.

Tutorial/Seminar Participation

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 10
Assessment Weeks 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Feedback will be in the form of email notification of marks with comments; general remarks on class and on MyAberdeen.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to identify and analyse West African objects in museum collections with reference to secondary literature on West African societies.
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to analyse and critically engage with both European written sources and non-archival sources, situating them in terms of context, genre and argument.
FactualAnalyseUnderstand the chronology of West African history from c.1312-1897 and key themes including state formation, cross-cultural exchange, Islamic revolutions, slavery, and colonialism.
ReflectionAnalyseUnderstand the historical context of current debates regarding cultural restitution and the repatriation of West African objects from Western museum collections.

Primary Source Gobbet Exercise

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks 13 Feedback Weeks 15

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Feedback will be in the form of email notification of marks with comments; general remarks in class and on MyAberdeen; and via one, individual face-to-face meeting with each student with feedback on the exercise (and more generally).

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to analyse and critically engage with both European written sources and non-archival sources, situating them in terms of context, genre and argument.
FactualAnalyseUnderstand the chronology of West African history from c.1312-1897 and key themes including state formation, cross-cultural exchange, Islamic revolutions, slavery, and colonialism.

Museum Collections Gobbet Exercise

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks 17 Feedback Weeks 19

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Feedback will be in the form of email notification of marks with comments; general remarks on class and on MyAberdeen; and via one, individual face-to-face meeting with each student with feedback on the exercise (and more generally).

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to identify and analyse West African objects in museum collections with reference to secondary literature on West African societies.
FactualAnalyseUnderstand the chronology of West African history from c.1312-1897 and key themes including state formation, cross-cultural exchange, Islamic revolutions, slavery, and colonialism.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Take Home Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 100
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

10 days to complete (online)

Feedback will be in the form of email notification of marks with comments.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionAnalyseUnderstand the historical context of current debates regarding cultural restitution and the repatriation of West African objects from Western museum collections.
FactualAnalyseUnderstand the chronology of West African history from c.1312-1897 and key themes including state formation, cross-cultural exchange, Islamic revolutions, slavery, and colonialism.
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to analyse and critically engage with both European written sources and non-archival sources, situating them in terms of context, genre and argument.
ConceptualEvaluateBe able to identify and analyse West African objects in museum collections with reference to secondary literature on West African societies.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.