The Department of History at UNC offers a range of classes on African history from the pre-modern period to the present, including undergraduate lecture courses and seminars as well as courses at the graduate level. While all classes treat the political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped sub-Saharan Africa from within, Africanist faculty members place an equal emphasis on the fundamental ways such internal processes have affected patterns of global history. Subjects such as the Atlantic slave trade, twentieth-century colonialism, and the rise and decline of apartheid in South Africa underscore the diversity of historical connections Africa has had with the rest of the world. By engaging with the continent’s social, cultural, and intellectual history, students learn that Africa’s past is a fascinating subject on its own terms, as well as an important feature in the study of world history.
Courses in African history count towards the major concentration in Third World/Non-Western. This concentration focuses on the countries and regions of the non-Western world, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Russia. While courses in this field emphasize the unique histories of these regions, they place them into a wider global context.
African history is not offered as a primary field for the Ph.D., but can be selected as a “second” field.