African Studies Programs

African Studies Courses

2019-2020 African Studies Course Timetable (updated September 16, 2019)

2019-2020 Special Topics


Specialist program: (11 full courses)

Core course requirements:
Other requirements:
  • 2.5 full course equivalents from Group A, to be cho­sen from at least two different departments/programs.
  • Two full course equivalents from Group B
  • Two full course equivalents from Groups A or B
  • A combination of two language full course equivalents as outlined in Group C
  • Four full course equivalents of the eleven courses must be 300/400 series (including at least one 400-se­ries course) of which at least one must be from Group A and another from Group B


Major program: (6 full courses)

Core course requirements:
Other requirements:
  • 1.5 full course equivalents from Group A.
  • Two full course equivalents from Group B, or NEW280Y1 and NEW380Y1
  • At least two full course equivalents from Groups A and/or B must be at the 300/400 level.


Minor program: (4 full courses)

Core requirement:
Other requirements:
  • One full course equivalent from Group A
  • One full course equivalent from Group B, or another one from Group A
  • One full course equivalent from Group B or NEW280Y1, NEW281Y1 or NEW380Y1
  • At least one one full course equivalent from Groups A or B must be at the 300/400 level.

Group A

(Courses that deal exclusively with Africa. These include but are not limited to the following):  ENG367H1; FCS392H1; HIS295Y1, HIS297Y1, HIS383Y1, HIS394H1, HIS481H1, HIS486H1; JNH350H1; JQR360H1; NEW250Y1, NEW322H1, NEW351Y1, NEW352H1, NEW353H1, NEW357H1, NEW358H1, NEW450Y1, NEW451H1, NEW453Y1, NEW454H1, NEW459H1; POL301Y1, POL488Y1, POL489H1; or an independent studies course approved by the program committee.

Group B

(Courses that deal with Africa and/or one or more of its diaspora. These include but are not limited to the following):
ANT204H1, ANT345H1, ANT348H1, ANT364H1, ANT374H1, ANT452H1; ARC233H1; CIN332Y1, CIN372Y1; DTS200Y1, DTS401H1, DTS402H1; ECO230Y1, ECO324H1; ENG270Y1, ENG359H1, ENG366H1, ENG370H1; ENV221H1, ENV333H1; FOR201H1; FRE332H1, FRE334H1, FRE336H1; GGR112H1, GGR338H1, GGR419H1; HAJ453H1; HIS106Y1, HIS221H1, HIS222H1, HIS230H1, HIS231H1, HIS293H1, HIS305H1, HIS359H1, HIS360H1, HIS391Y1, HIS392Y1, HIS413H1, HIS446H1, HIS474H1, HIS487H1; HMB202H1, HMB203H1, HMB303H1, HMB323H1, HMB433H1, HMB443H1; JPR374H1; NFS490H1; NMC285H1, NMC286H1, NMC343H1, NMC344H1, NMC362Y1, NMC365Y1, NMC374H1, NMC376H1, NMC377Y1, NMC378H1, NMC381H1, NMC393H1; NEW220H1, NEW221H1, NEW225H1, NEW226H1, NEW321H1, NEW324H1, NEW325H1; PHL336H1, PHL380H1; POL201Y1, POL417Y1, POL445H1, POL447H1, POL479H1, POL482H1; RLG203H1, RLG204H1, RLG241H1, RLG243H1, RLG312H1, RLG333H1, RLG351H1, RLG355H1; SDS355H1; SOC210H1; WGS369H1, WGS385H1, WGS440H1, WGS450H1, WGS463H1

Group C:

(NEW280Y1, NEW380Y1)/(FSL221Y1, FSL321Y1/FSL421Y1)/(NML110Y1, NML210Y1)/(PRT100Y1, PRT220Y1); or two courses in a major African language approved by the Program Committee

African Studies Courses

NEW150Y1: Introduction to African Studies [48L] A multi-disciplinary study of Africa, emphasizing inquiry and critical analysis. Pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary African history, anthropology, politics, African humanism and society, religion, art, music, race, resistance, gender and Pan-Africanism. DR=HUM; BR=3

NEW250Y1: Africa in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities [48L, 24T] A critical examination of Africa as a living space rather than merely a site of intellectual speculation and study.  Uses scholarly and popular literature to explore the issues that engage the attention of ordinary Africans, ranging from the dramatic to the seemingly trivial, as they struggle to fashion meaningful lives in fast-changing societies.  Topics include urban transition and city life; economic, political and cultural impacts of globalization; new religious movements and changing conceptions of selfhood; new African diasporas in the West; dynamics of gender relations, kinships and identities; and the politics of liberalization.  Materials studied will include print and electronic news media and other mass media resources from Africa and across the world. DR=HUM/SOC SCI; BR=1+3

NEW280Y1: Introductory Swahili [24L, 72T] Introduction to grammar and basic vocabulary of Swahili. Emphasis on comprehension and oral practice. Reading of selected texts. Relation of the language to its East African cultural context. (Offered in alternate years) DR=HUM; BR=1

NEW322H1: The Contemporary African Novel (formerly NEW322Y1) [24S] Novels written in the last forty years by English, French and Portuguese-speaking Africans. Ideological views concerning colonialism and neo-colonialism. Tradition, religious and secular; the use of African symbolism. A small number of historical and sociological texts are recommended as essential background reading. Works not written in English are read in translation. (Offered in alternate years) Exclusion: NEW322Y1 DR=HUM; BR=TBA

JNH350H1: AIDS : Challenges and Successes (formerly NEW350H1) [24L] Explores the pandemic of AIDS in Africa through a social science lens. (Given by Human Biology and New College) Recommended preparation: NEW150Y1 Exclusion: NEW350H1 DR=SOC SCI/SCI DR=HUM; BR=TBA

NEW351Y1: African Systems of Thought (formerly NEW252Y1) [48L] The exploration of a range of African cosmologies, epistemologies, and theologies, as well as specific case studies on justice, the moral order, and gender relations. The influence of these richly diverse traditions is traced as well in the writings of African thinkers in the Diaspora. Recommended preparation: NEW150Y1 Exclusion: NEW252Y1, JAP256H1/JAP356H1 DR=HUM; BR=TBA

NEW352H1: International Organizations, NGOs, Development and Change in Africa [24L] Critically explores the role of international organizations such as the World Bank Group, the UN and NGOs in the economic development of Africa. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1, NEW250Y1 or permission of the instructor. DR=HUM/SOC SCI; BR=TBA

NEW353H1: International Relations of Africa[24L] Explores inter-state relations in Africa, African states’ relations with the West, China, India, Brazil, and international political, economic and financial institutions. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1/NEW250Y1 DR=HUM/SOC SCI; BR=TBA

JQR360H1: The Canadian Census: Populations, Migrations and Demographics [24L, 12T] Examines the Canadian population census through the experience of diasporic groups in Canada. Approaches the census as a statistical tool, an historical source and an ideological project of citizenship and nationalism. Uses census data to explore mathematical and statistical concepts and to integrate numerical ways of thinking with qualitative analysis. (Jointly sponsored by African Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Caribbean Studies, Equity Studies and Latin American Studies). Prerequisite: DTS200Y1/​HIS230H1/​HIS231H1/​LAS200H1/​LAS201H1/​NEW120Y1/​NEW150Y1/​NEW220H1/​NEW221H1/​NEW224Y1/​NEW225H1/​NEW226H1/​NEW240Y1 DR=SOC SCI; BR=TBA

NEW380Y1: Intermediate Swahili [24L, 72T] Grammar and syntax. Conversation and written composition. Reading of texts: literary, journalistic. Relation of the language to its East African context. (Offered in alternate years) Prerequisite: NEW280Y1 DR=HUM; BR=TBA

NEW450Y1: Advanced Topics in African Studies [24S] A required course for all Specialists and Majors in the African Studies Program, enrolment is restricted to students enrolled in the program in their final year of study. The seminar is taught by the core faculty in the African Studies Program and is designed to build upon the accumulated knowledge of students and the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Topics vary from year to year. DR=HUM; BR=TBA

NEW451H1: Special Topics in African Studies [24L] An upper level course. Topics of study vary from year to year. DR=HUM/SOC SCI; BR=TBA

NEW453Y1: Language and Postcolonial Education in East Africa [48S] Examines the choice of languages for education in East Africa using critical perspectives. Pays particular attention to the influences of the historical experience of colonialism, the socio-linguistic contours of each country and the strength of linguistic and educational lobby groups in East African countries. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1, NEW250Y1 or permission of instructor DR=HUM; BR=1+3

NEW454H1:  Migration, Mobility, and Displacement in Africa [24S]  Why do people move voluntarily or involuntarily?  What are the causes and consequences of migration and displacement in Africa?  This course critically examines the multifaceted dimensions of migration, mobility, and displacement, with a specific focus on communities and populations displaced by war, environmental destruction and disaster, economic failings, and the quest for economic opportunities, love, education, or individual freedom.  Prerequisite: NEW150Y1, NEW250Y1 or permission of instructor.  Exclusion:  NEW451H1 (Fall 2016).  Recommended Preparation:  JQR360H1/NEW351Y1.  DR=HUM; BR=3

2019 – 2020 African Studies Course Timetable

Download the 2019-2020 timetable here!

2019 – 2020 Special Topics Courses

NEW357H1F – Special Topics in African Studies:  The Horn of Africa – Critical Perspectives

Examines the Horn of Africa, its diversity, geopolitics, cultural politics, present conditions and current debates on the region within a critical and comparative lens.

NEW357H1F – Special Topics in African Studies:  Art, Media and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora

This course explores the critical intersections between art, media and politics by analyzing the making and circulation of various indigenous and modern art forms and their use as creative and radical strategies for creative expression, dissent, citizenship, and alternative forms of representation and agency in African post-colonial contexts, and interconnected with the African Diaspora.

NEW357H1S – Special Topics in African Studies:  The Geopolitics and Debates on Africa-China Economic Relations

This course explores the geopolitics of  Africa-Asia relations, in particular, the unabated   and polarised debates and narratives on China engagement across sectors in Africa, Africa-China  multifaceted trade relations, strategies  and interests,  and  economic diplomacy.  It critically examines the  changing landscape of economic  cooperation and  development financing  in  contemporary Africa,  their underlying impulses and their  broader implications.

NEW358H1F – Special Topics in African Studies:  Culture and Development in Post-Colonial Africa

This course examines African cultures in the context of modernity and development. It subjects African cultures to a critical analysis to determine their role in development. In particular the course seeks to establish whether or not African cultures are responsible for problems that are rampant on the African continent such as corruption, poor governance, conflict, inequality, poverty and generally poor socio-economic performance. On the flip side the course also looks at the effect of development and modernity on African cultures. We question whether changes that have been caused by modernity were desirable and necessary. To ensure a better and in depth understanding of the issues, we isolate the relevant aspects of African culture and discuss them in detail. Some of the questions addressed include the following: what is African culture? What is the nature of relationship between African cultures on development and governance? Is the poor performance of African economies and poor participation of Africans in the global economy due to African culture? How does modernity affect Africans and their culture? Is every aspect of development and modernity desirable for Africa? What aspects of African culture should be retained? Which aspects are out of line with needs and demands of contemporary Africa? What aspects need improvement, updating and modernization? What would changes in African cultures mean for the African identity?

NEW358H1S – Special Topics in African Studies:  African Youth Languages & Cultures

This course examines youth languages and cultures in contemporary Africa. It looks at the nature of youth languages and cultures, their characteristics, conditions under which they develop; and it compares youth languages and cultures in different regions of Africa. The course also considers the implications of African youth languages and cultures for education, mainstream languages, identity, national and regional integration, and development. Topics that will be covered include historical background to youth languages and cultures, African youth languages and cultures in the context of socio-economic challenges, globalization, urbanization, multilingualism; Urban youth languages such as Sheng, Engsh and Tsotsitaal; African youth and music; intergenerational cultural conflict, etc.

NEW451H1S LEC0101- Special Topics in African Studies:  Conflicts, Negotiations and Peacebuilding in Africa

Conflicts and peace negotiations in various African contexts such as Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and North Africa are at the forefront of public discourse, citizen actions and mobilizations, policy debates, and interventions through formal, indigenous, informal and institutional mediation and peace negotiation platforms, strategies and impulses.  This course will critically analyze and interrogate various conflict zones and cases, and the different actors and strategies to negotiate and sustain peace in Africa in a broader context of the war on terror, increasing militarism and securitization in peacebuilding.

NEW451H1S LEC0201 – Special Topics in African Studies:  Postcolonial African Cities and Urban Futures

From slums, bustling cultural scenes and cityscapes, to diaspora lanes, African cities show diverse trajectories, inequalities and uneven pace of urbanization. Challenging clichés of African cities as ‘dystopian’ and ‘off the map’, this course critically examines the processes and dynamics of urban transformation and rapid urbanization of African cities and their social, ecological, political, economic and cultural implications. It interrogates key drivers of urbanization in the postcolonial era, the challenges of sustainable urban development , urban policy and governance, the demand and need for inclusive and just urbanism, and the reimagining of African urban futures.  In addition to the exposure to cutting edge scholarship on African urbanization,  students will have the  unique opportunity to engage with excellent speakers from various  disciplines, leading international institutions and Africa-based city builders and social entrepreneurs.