Senior Courses


The availability of courses listed may vary year to year.

African Languages & Linguistics (LING 447E 005)
Instructor: Douglas Pulleyblank (

This course will survey African languages, paying particular attention to their genetic classification, their word structure (morphology) and their sound structure (phonology). The African continent exhibits tremendous linguistic diversity, with upwards of 2000 different languages belonging to several completely unrelated language families. A single country like Nigeria, for example, has more than 500 languages belonging to three distinct families. The goal of this course will not be to study any particular language, but to become familiar with a sample of the kinds of patterns typical of African languages. There is no pre-requisite for this course. Students are welcome with or without a linguistic background. All students will be required to conduct a project on some African language during the course, and this project will be tailored to the background of the individual student.

This course can be counted towards the African Studies Minor in the Faculty of Arts.

Course details: LING 447E.005, 2015 Winter, term 1, Tue & Thu 1100-1230

***Please note that there is more than one section of LING 447, each section with a different topic; you must register for the specific section indicated above.***

AFST 351 (3/6) Perspectives in African Studies: Literary and Theoretical Approaches. Recent trends and problems in African thought (not offered 2014W)
Instructor: Suzanne James
Co-requisite: AFST 250 (or permission of instructor)

This course will offer students the opportunity to explore a number of concepts, controversies and discussions related to the definition of African thought, the way that African thought has been conceived and practiced historically and its role in the conceptualization of 21st Century African societies. In addition to reviewing the history and major problems of this field, students will choose a specific area to examine more closely from among:

1. universalism and relativism;
2. ethno-philosophy and Sage philosophy;
3. critical gender analyses;
4. hermeneutics;
5. Marxism and socialism;

These studies will be supported by readings from such authors as Mbiti, Wirendu, Mudimbe, Houtondji, Okere, Serequeberhan, Nkrumah, Cheikh Anta Diop and Amadiume.

AFST 352 (3/6) Perspectives in African Studies: A Social Science Approach (term 2)
crosslisted with HIST 313
History 313, Africa from Imperialism to Independence (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo

This course examines the histories of “Modern Africa,” itself a problematic idea, from 1800 to the present. We will explore themes of African societies and statecraft in the 19th century; colonial conquest, collaboration and resistance; the nature of the colonial state; cultures of gender, ethnicity and work under colonial rule; violent nationalisms, independence and colonial legacies; postcolonial conflict and the crisis of the state. While taking a comprehensive approach, particular attention will be paid to case studies drawn from Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa. History 315, Britain, 1750-1850

HIST309A Topics in Sub-Sarahan African History

Instructor: TBA

For the 2013-14 calendar year, “Topics in Sub-Saharan African History” will focus on the topic of African Cinema and History. African cinema represents a dynamic, varied and evolving part of world cinema that reflects the continuing and changing traditions of storytelling in Africa. Much of this cinematic tradition is intensely preoccupied with history, self-consciously taking up the role of griot – of traditional oral storyteller – and using an often didactic or reconstructive approach to the representation of historical narratives and visual culture outside of colonial images. Film itself represents an increasingly important source for historians, as intrinsically historical documents as well as cultural and industrial products that help bring academic historiography and public history. This course will provide students with an opportunity explore various aspects of African history through the lens of film, prompting students to think about the ways in which these representations structure historical imagination and popular understandings of history. Inextricably linked to the postcolonial condition, cinema in Africa represents an important technology by which Africans compose, edit and consolidate their pasts and has become a dominant form for thinking about pressing social and political concerns in contemporary Africa.

Topics for this course change every year.

AFST 450R African Diasporic Culture in African Canadian Communities (New Course)


This course combines the study of historical evidence of the presence of African diasporic culture in Canadian society, reflection on the notion African diaspora and on various ways in which that notion has been viewed by political and cultural theorists, and the fostering of dialogue with members of African Canadian communities on cultural values, traditions, memory, adaptation and change. Students are encouraged not only to apply their classroom-based learning to their dialogue with members of African Canadian communities but also to challenge theoretical models and preconceived notions through the experience of discussing those models and notions with individuals, families and groups.

MUSC 428E Area Studies in Ethnic Music – Music in Africa

Instructor: Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo

Offered once every year: Open to Upper Level Undergraduate and Graduates (both Non-Music and Music Majors).

This course examines the historical, social, and cultural background of music in Africa with particular reference to the social context of music, music in Islamic culture, kinship music, music in ritual and theater, music and dance, musical instruments and ensemble practice, stylistic elements of traditional music, music in church, popular music, and neo-African art music. The course aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of the philosophical, historical, and artistic processes and developments that have shaped and continue to influence traditional, popular, and contemporary African music and dance productions. The class will be taught through a combination of lectures, discussions, audiovisual materials, and hands-on practical activities and experiences as well as occasional live demonstrations by performers of African music.

Available Courses

AFST 351 (3/6) Perspectives in African Studies: Literary and Theoretical Approaches (term 2) Recent trends and problems in African thought
AFST 352 (3/6) Perspectives in African Studies: A Social Science Approach (term 2)
ANTH 308 (3/6) Ethnography of Sub-Saharan Africa
ANTH 403 (3/6) Ethnography of Special Areas
ENGL 478A (3) Post Colonial Studies (Post Apartheid South African Writing)
NEST 303 (3) History of Ancient Egypt
POLI 464C (3) Problems in International Relations, Political Institutions and Economic Growth