African Studies Programs

African Studies Courses

2020-2021 African Studies Course Timetable (updated August 14, 2020)

2020-2021 African Studies Special Topics

Past and Future African Studies Special Topics (not offered in 2020-2021)

Elimu, Undergraduate Journal of African Studies
Volume 1, 2019 is published! CONGRATULATIONS to the editors and contributors!

Elimu Volume 1, our 2019 inaugural edition, has been a resounding success, and is now live online at as well as on the African Studies Program website.

Interested in contributing to Elimu? Submissions for Volume 2 are open and can be sent in here. You can also apply to be a member of the editorial board – to apply and for more information, see our central Elimu page.

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, NEW354H1, NEW355H1, NEW357H1, NEW358H1, NEW359H1, NEW450Y1, NEW451H1, NEW453Y1, NEW454H1, NEW455H1, 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; 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, HIS359H1, HIS360H1, HIS391Y1, HIS392Y1, HIS413H1, HIS446H1, HIS474H1, HIS487H1; HMB202H1, HMB203H1, HMB303H1, HMB323H1, HMB433H1, HMB443H1; JPR374H1; NFS490H1; NMC343H1, NMC344H1, NMC362Y1, NMC374H1, NMC376H1, NMC377Y1, NMC378H1, NMC381H1; NEW220H1, NEW221H1, NEW225H1, NEW226H1, NEW321H1, NEW324H1, NEW325H1; PHL336H1, PHL380H1; POL201H1, 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

NEW354H1:  African Cultures and Development [24L] Critically examines scholarly debates on the relationships between African cultures and development in various regions of the continent. Draws on interdisciplinary scholarship and development discourses to enhance students’ understanding of African conditions and cultures in the context of development thinking. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1/​NEW250Y1 Exclusion: NEW358H1 (Special Topics in African Studies: Culture and Development in Postcolonial Africa), offered in Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019. DR=SOC SCI; BR=3 

NEW355H1:  African Youth Languages and Cultures [24L]  Examines the nature of youth languages and cultures in contemporary Africa with a focus on their characteristics and the conditions under which they develop. Also considers similarities and/or differences between youth languages and cultures in different regions of Africa and the general youth condition. Includes urban youth languages such as Sheng, Engsh, Tsotsital, etc. and music genres associated with youth such as hip hop, Bongo flava, etc. Discusses challenges and opportunities associated with African youth languages as they relate to questions of identity, national integration, regional integration, and development. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1/​NEW250Y1/​NEW280Y1
Exclusion: NEW358H1 (Special Topics in African Studies: African Youth Languages and Cultures), offered in Winter 2018, Winter 2020.  DR=HUM; BR=2

NEW359H1:  The Horn of Africa:  Critical Perspectives [24L] Examines the Horn of Africa, its diversity, geopolitics, cultural politics, present conditions and current debates through a critical and comparative lens. Considers social forces in contemporary politics within the region including competing claims, explanations of the underpinnings of the Horn’s conflict, and the promise of peace. Draws upon interdisciplinary scholarship, public discourse, texts and media to reflect on the future of the Horn of Africa at this historical moment. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 4.0 FCEs Exclusion: NEW357H1 (Special Topics in African Studies: The Horn of Africa: Critical Perspectives) offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2019 Recommended Preparation: NEW150Y1/​NEW250Y1 DR=SOC SCI; BR=3

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: African Studies Honours Research Seminar [24S] This honours research seminar required of all specialists and majors in African Studies offers critical explorations of the genealogy of African Studies, the transnational study of Africa, Africa’s place in a globalized world, the historical, intellectual and institutional contexts of Africanist knowledge production, its dissemination and consumption in Africa, Europe, the Americas and emerging academic sites in Asia. It engages with the paradigm shifts and vibrant scholarly and epistemic debates across disciplines and geographies as well as unfolding events, public discourses, geopolitics, African popular cultures and the reimagining of African futures through canonical, emergent scholarship and creative media and emphasizes students’ original and creative research explorations, engaged praxis and search for alternative theorizing and epistemologies.  Prerequisite:NEW150Y1/​NEW250Y1/​400-level Group A Course. DR=SOC SCI; BR=3

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

NEW455H1:  Conflicts, Negotiations and Peacebuilding in Africa [24S]  Examines conflicts and peace negotiations in African contexts such as Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and North Africa through public discourse, citizen actions, policy debates and mobilizations. Explores formal, informal, indigenous and institutional mediation and peace negotiation platforms, strategies, and impulses. Analyzes various conflict zones, case studies and intervention strategies for negotiating and sustaining peace in Africa in the broader context of the war on terror, increasing militarism, and securitization in peacebuilding. Prerequisite: NEW150Y1/​NEW250Y1 Exclusion: NEW451H1 (Special Topics in African Studies: Conflicts, Negotiations and Peacebuilding in Africa), offered in Winter 2019, Winter 2020; NEW452H1. Recommended Preparation: NEW353H1.  DR=SOC SCI; BR=3

2020-2021 African Studies Special Topics Courses

NEW357H1F:  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 polarized debates and narratives on China’s 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.

Past and Future African Studies Special Topics Courses (not offered in 2020-2021)


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. It traces 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.

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.

Climate Change, Food Security, and Sustainability in Africa

Food security is a major challenge and urgency in various African regions, countries and fragile agro-ecological zones. What is the nexus between food security, climate change and sustainability in Africa today? This course critically examines the complex dynamics between food insecurity, livelihood security, the uncertainties, risks and vulnerabilities from changing climate, pandemics, conflicts, natural disasters, and the challenges and opportunities for sustainable futures in Africa. Case studies methods, guest speakers, modeling and scenario-building exercises will enrich students’ experience and complement the canonical and emergent interdisciplinary scholarship on the topic.

2020 – 2021 African Studies Course Timetable

Download the 2020-2021 African Studies Course Timetable