HIS311 logo HIS 311
African History to 1875

Fall 2014, Mon-Wed 3-4:15pm, 212 Main Hall

What's New?

Sep. 7: My office hour on Wed. Sep. 10 at 2pm is cancelled so I can go to a meeting of the YES Board.
Note: This syllabus is located at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his311.htm.
  Emergency? Call 610-436-3311

Instructor: Jim Jones
Email: jjones@wcupa.edu   Tel: 610-436-2312
Office: 411 Wayne Hall, West Chester, PA 19383
Hours: Mon/Wed 9-9:50am & 2-2:50pm, Fri 12-12:50pm, and by appointment

Organization of this syllabus: The course outline is at the top, since you will use that every week, followed by an explanation of how the objectives of this class meet History Department learning goals. After that, you will find explanations of class policies on evaluation (i.e. grades), required textbooks and readings, professor and student responsibilities, attendance, "Academic Dishonesty" (i.e. cheating, plagiarism, etc.), ADA compliance (i.e. disabilities), discrimination, substance abuse, and emergency preparedness.


Date Topic Assigned Reading
Aug. 25-27 Introduction, physical and human geography of Africa Falola, 7-24, 35-49
You can drop classes until Saturday Aug. 30 and add them until Sunday Aug. 31 by
going on-line. If you add a class late, you are responsible for ALL earlier assignments.
Sep. 3 Ancient Egypt (No class on Labor Day, Monday Sept. 1) Falola, 73-96
Sep. 8-10 The Upper Nile Valley Falola, 96-108
Sep. 15-17 The Bantu, the Iron Age & Review for Exam Falola, 113-122
Sep. 22-24 EXAM on Monday Sept. 22, then intro to West African Geopolitics Falola, 137-146
Sep. 29-Oct. 1 West African examples from the coast and interior Falola, 146-188
Oct. 8 East Africa (no class on Fall Break, Monday Oct. 6) Falola, 191-206
Oct. 13-15 MAP TEST on Monday, and Introduction to Central Africa  
Oct. 20-22 Central African examples and economics Falola, 207-226
Friday Oct. 24 is the last day to drop a class or to complete work from the previous semester.
Oct. 27 - 29 Ethiopia, Egypt & North Africa Falola, 231-273
Nov. 3-5 The Igbo & Review for Exam, EXAM on Wednesday Nov. 5 Falola, 279-286
Nov. 10-12 The Transatlantic Slave Trade Falola, 389-396
Nov. 17-19 Finish the Transatlantic Slave Trade and start the Zulu Mfecane Falola, 396-411; 359-379
Nov. 24 Finish the Zulu Mfecane (Thanksgiving Break - no class on Wed.) Falola, 359-379
Dec. 1-3 Islam in Early Modern Africa Falola, 299-334, Usuman dan Fodio's Genealogy
Dec. 8-13 Review for Exam on Monday Dec. 8, EXAM on date to be announced  

COURSE OBJECTIVES: This course examines how the history of Africa was shaped by geography and human activity. By the end of the semester, you should be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

1. Construct generalizations and interpretations that demonstrate a knowledge of modern historical eras, change over time, and key concepts in the history of Africa and globalization.

2. Communicate your knowledge of history in reasoned arguments supported by historical evidence and an appreciation of multiple causes, effects, and perspectives, in both oral and written presentations.

3. Identify and acknowledge multiple points of view in primary and secondary sources, and connect your knowledge of multiple historical perspectives to contemporary life in a heterogeneous, global society.

EVALUATION: First and second essay exams (20% each), map test (20%), class discussion (10%), third essay exam (30% each). Perfect attendance throughout the semester will improve a borderline final grade. If you miss one of the in-class exams and can produce a valid excuse (see "Attendance" below), you will be permitted to make it up at Professor Jones' convenience. If you can not produce a valid excuse, you will receive a zero (0) for that exam.

Class discussion provides an opportunity to seek clarification on assigned readings, test your analysis and organize your thoughts. It is not a competitive event to see who speaks the most, but rather an opportunity to show your ability to exchange information with your colleagues.

The map test is designed to guarantee that everyone possesses the geographical knowledge needed to support all other class activities. For example, if everyone knows where the Niger River is located, they can more easily understand its role in the patterns of farmer-pastoralist relations. To make this task more manageable, the web page at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his311/maps/311map.htm lists the places and features from which questions will be derived.

Essay exams give each student a chance to respond to a broad, thematic question by making arguments based on facts derived from primary and secondary sources. While literary skill and spelling/grammar are not primary concerns, weakness in those areas should not interfer with the clarity of your argument. The best essay exams include more detail, organized in a logical way, supported by factual statements of specific origin. These statements, from essays about the formation of West African empires, are organized from strongest to weakest:

TEXTBOOK: Toyin Falola, editor, Africa, vol. 1. African History Before 1885 (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2000 & 2003, ISBN #0-89089-768-9). Other materials are avaiable at the African History Resource Page.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Professor Jones must deliver interesting lectures and facilitate meaningful classoom discussion, maintain regular office hours, write fair assignments and provide written feedback. Students must read and digest (i.e. make a sincere effort to understand) assignments before coming to class, participate in class discussion, and pass three essay examinations and one map test.

ATTENDANCE: Professor Jones follows the University's attendance policy, which provides for the reduction of a final grade for more than six (6) unexcused absences during the semester. An excused absence is one that you can document with a valid written excuse concerning a medical condition, legal proceeding, university-sanctioned event or death of an immediate family member (i.e. parent, sibling or child). All other absences are unexcused. Please note: 1) If you face an extraordinary circumstance and believe you should receive special consideration, discuss it with your professor before you are absent -- exceptional requests made after an unexcused absence will not be considered. Also, 2) the professor reserves the right to treat multiple incidents of tardiness as additional unexcused absences. Finally, 3) any time you miss a class, you are responsible for getting notes from a class mate and completing all assigned readings. If, after that, you have questions, talk to your professor during office hours (i.e. don't just send an email asking "what did I miss?")


CHEATING/PLAGIARISM: It is the responsibility of each student to adhere to the university's standards for academic integrity. Violations of academic integrity include any act that violates the rights of another student in academic work, that involves misrepresentation of your own work, or that disrupts the instruction of the course. Other violations include (but are not limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means copying any part of another's work and/or using ideas of another and presenting them as your own without giving proper credit to the source; selling, purchasing, or exchanging term papers; falsifying information; and using your own work from one class to fulfill the assignment for another class without significant modification. Proof of academic misconduct can result in automatic failure and removal from this course. In particular, "cutting and pasting" from an on-line source is NEVER acceptable. Instead, you are expected to rewrite what you found in your own words, and provide a reference note to show where you found it.

For questions regarding Academic Integrity, the No-Grade Policy, Sexual Harassment, or the Student Code of Conduct, you are encouraged to refer to the History Department's Undergraduate Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalogue, the Ram's Eye View, and the University website at www.wcupa.edu.

ADA COMPLIANCE: We at West Chester University wish to make accommodations for persons with disabilities. Please make your needs known by contacting Professor Jim Jones and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217. Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible. The University desires to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

DISCRIMINATION: Professor Jones supports West Chester University's prohibition against discrimination, including sexual harassment, of any individual based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, religious creed, disability or veteran status. The University is committed to providing leadership in extending equal opportunities to all individuals and will continue to make every effort to provide these rights to all members of the University community, including students, staff, and administrators, as well as all applicants for admission or employment and all participants in University-sponsored activities. Any individual having suggestions, problems, complaints or grievances with regard to equal opportunity or affirmative action is encouraged to contact the Director of Social Equity at 610-436-2433.

SUBSTANCE USE/ABUSE: West Chester University is committed to improving retention, graduation and time-to-degree rates by assisting students during key transitional periods in their academic careers. Because Professor Jones believes that alcohol and drug issues can compromise student success, he has participated in a training program ("Partners in Prevention") designed to help faculty/staff recognize addiction and guide students to assistance. If you wish to discuss any of this with Professor Jones -- in confidence -- please contact him before or after class.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: All students are encouraged to sign up for the University's free WCU ALERT service, which delivers official WCU emergency text messages directly to your cell phone. For more information and to sign up, visit www.wcupa.edu/wcualert. To report an emergency, call the Department of Public Safety at 610-436-3311.


The most recent version of this syllabus is located at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his397.htm.
A list of all of Jim Jones' course syllabi can be found at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones.

Fall 2014 Office Hours: Mon/Wed 9-9:50am & 2-2:50pm, Fri 12-1:50pm, and by appointment in 411 Wayne Main Hall.