Africa and the World Economy, 1500-2000

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leigh Gardner SAR 5.07


This course is available on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economic History with Economics and BSc in Economics and Economic History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course examines aspects of the economic history of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the nature and consequences for Africa of its external relationships. Lectures provide a chronological introduction to significant periods in African economic history, from the pre-colonial period through the slave trade, different periods of colonial rule, post-independence state-led development, and Structural Adjustment. Classes focus on case studies from individual countries and regions, which illustrate the diversity of experience across the continent. Primary source material related to the case studies will be included in the readings and facilitate the development of research skills in African economic history.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of MT and LT.

Formative coursework

Students should expected to complete two formative  assignments per term. This will include one essay per term plus an assignment preparing them for the summative case study project. Students will need to have the selection of their case study approved by the course convener by the end of MT, and prepare an outline and reading list by Week 3 of LT. 


Indicative reading

For a general overview of African history over the period, see R.J. Reid, A History of Modern Africa (2009); J. Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (1995). Specific texts on African economic history include R. Austen, African Economic History (1987); R. Bates, Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa (1983); C. Feinstein, Conquest, Discrimination and Development: an Economic History of South Africa (2005); J. Forbes Munro, Africa and the International Economy, 1800-1950 (1976); A. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa (1973); R.M.A van Zwanenberg and A. King, An Economic History of Kenya and Uganda, 1800-1970 (1975)


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Project (30%, 3000 words) in the ST Week 1.

The research project will involve a case study of an African country, focused on one of the themes/questions addressed in the course. It will be 3,000 words and due at the beginning of ST. 

Teachers' comment

Survey questions on feedback to students may be non-informative because assessed work comes later in the term than the survey.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Capped 2017/18: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills