African History: Panoramas, Portraits, Perspectives (History/Social Science Elective; US)

Grades 11–12

This course spans from the origins of humanity to Africa’s present-day prospects and challenges. It addresses both developments within Africa and Africa’s relationship to the wider world. Broad panorama topics include the spread of peoples, languages, and technologies; the rise of large and small-scale states; local and world religions; slavery and slave trading; colonialism; and contemporary successes and struggles. Students use biographies and case studies for more sharply drawn portraits. Topics may include medieval Angola; slavery, gender, and early colonialism in West Africa; Liberia’s history; the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s; and Chinese-African connections. Perspectives also matter. Students consider how different groups, including students and teachers in the course, hold particular perspectives about Africa’s past, present, and future. They examine what differing perspectives can tell us about Africa, and what they can tell us about the perspective holders.



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