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The University of Southampton

HUMA1039 Inside Africa

Module Overview

What does Africa possess, that the rest of the globe does not already have in superabundance? - the Nigerian Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka once asked. The short answer is, a lot. Africa’s richness is not limited to untapped material resources, tourist landscapes and strategic military locations. The continent’s global prestige is on the rise thanks to the vibrant material and social practices emanating from it, and the depth and diversity of its ways of perceiving, adapting, and simply doing things in the world. This multidisciplinary, team-taught module will help you to acquire an informed understanding of Africa's global positioning by introducing you to key concepts and methodological approaches deployed across the humanities and social sciences. The module is structured around three interlinked themes of interdisciplinary study: (i) governance and resistance in modern African states, (ii) contemporary problems related to population growth, reproductive health and movement, together with their impact on government, and (iii) cultural and literary representations of African modernity. Classroom conversations around each of these areas of study will be approached from multiple disciplinary angles, and will entail problems and debates covered by at least three of the following disciplines: Archaeology, Demography, English, History, Music and Modern Languages. You will be supported in formulating your own research questions and developing individual lines of investigation.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • problems related to African populations and their origins
  • Human histories related to Africa and its place in the world
  • texts and authors featuring in debates around modern African literatures and cultures
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • plan and develop a research essay on an Africa-related subject
  • select, apply and move between concepts and thinking methodologies deployed by the different scholaraly disciplines featured on the module
  • formulate your own Africa-related research questions
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • think and write critically about locations and cultures distant from your own
  • interrogate contemporary debates around Africa and Africans
  • avoid the pitfalls of Eurocentrism


This module encourages you to make links among disciplines and to approach complex problems from multiple angles. The debates and questions you’ll encounter each week will be linked to a cluster of themes related to Africa's populations, histories, politics and cultures. Within this thematic framework and with the help of specialist tutors, you will be encouraged to chart your own trajectory of thinking and research related to the African continent and its place in the modern world.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - lectures - seminars - individual consultations with tutors Learning activities include: - independent study - group discussion - demonstrations of biological, historical and cultural artefacts - engagement with visiting/expert speakers where possible - viewing video-clips and film where appropriate.

Completion of assessment task40
Follow-up work10
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Wider reading or practice50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Olaniyan, Tejumola and Ato Quayson, (2007). African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory . 

Amoore, Louise (2005). The Global Resistance Reader. 

Gould, W.T.S. (2015). Population and Development . 

Brittle Paper: An African Literary Experience .

Parker, John and Richard Rathbone, (2007). African History: A Very Short Introduction . 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (1000 words) 30%
Analytical essay  (2000 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Costs for this module will not exceed £50

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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