Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
HUM 204
Course Title:
History of Africa
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces students to some major themes in the history of the African continent from ancient times to the present. It is the first course in the Humanities sequence on Africa, and provides a wide background for subsequent courses. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

After successful completion of HUM 204 students will be able to:

  • Use critical thinking to analyze and evaluate aspects of African civilizations: peoples, societies and nations, in discrete geographic
    areas and different time periods
  • Recognize the historical impact of different groups (e.g. Bantus, Arabs, Europeans, Asians) and beliefs (e.g. Traditional, Christian,
    Muslim) in order to appreciate and evaluate the current diversity of societies in modern Africa.
  • Communicate effectively in analytical, factbased discussions regarding issues in the history of the continent of Africa.
  • Identify culturally-grounded practices, values and beliefs, explain how they influenced the actions of African societies from ancient times
    to the modern era and the extent of their impact today.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The SAC expects that instructors will assess student learning throughout the term using a variety of methods. The SAC encourages instructors to consider the following in determining the achievement of course outcomes: 

  • Analyze primary and secondary sources of information
  • Individual or team oral dialogues
  • Investigative papers that analyze historical topics or issues
  • Assess how civilizations have changed over time
  • Participation in, and contribution to, all large and small group discussions and activities
  • Quizzes, exams, response papers, and exercises
  • Evaluate different interpretations of past events and develop their own
  • Associate past events to contemporary times

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Course Content


  • State formation: the rise and development of political entities
  • The role of women
  • Cultural continuity and change
  • Acculturation
  • Political and economic progress
  • Developments in literature, art and music
  • Conflict and cooperation
  • Religions and philosophies
  • Leadership


  • Revolution
  • Religious pluralism (belief systems)
  • Self-understanding (world views)
  • The Diaspora
  • Pan Africanism
  • Leadership and statecraft
  • Colonialism and imperialism
  • Historical interpretation
  • Resistance


  • Domestic and commercial slavery
  • Ethnicity, gender and socio-economic class
  • Inter- and intra-ethnic cooperation and conflicts
  • Impact of Christianity and Islam
  • State-building and empire building
  • Cultural evolution
  • Colonialism and its impact
  • Negritude and other aspects of cultural pride
  • The symbiotic relationship between Europe and Africa


  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Evaluate interpretations of historical events
  • Effective communication orally and in writing
  • Analyze the causal relationship between two or more historical events
  • Connect past and present events
  • Problem posing
  • Work collaboratively with others
  • Clearly articulate thoughts in discussions and other activities
  • Close reading of primary and secondary sources
  • Select what is important from a large body of material