History of Africa, History 3810 (WI)
CRN 32676, Section 001
Spring Semester, 2018
Dr. Kenneth Wilburn

Lectures: MWF 9 - 9:50 a.m. in Brewster D-312
Office Hours: M: 12 - 12:30; WF: 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.; & by Appointment in Brewster A-318
Office Telephone: 252-328-1029
Academic Home Page:

Joshua Vestal, Graduate Assistant
Office: History Lab, Brewster D-201
Office Hours: TBA

Course Goals:

Students in HIST 3810 will learn the subject matter of History of Africa in Afrocentric, Eurocentric, and Homocentric contexts. Jan Vansina's Living With Africa and Jules Benjamin's A Student's Guide to History will introduce students to research methodology, principles, and concepts related to the discipline of history and historical research in traditional, colonial, and independent Africa. Students will also explore how the festering legacies of the Atlantic slave trade can be healed. Finally, students will learn how history gives context to human origins in Africa and its provocative relationship to emerging world civilization.

The Summary/Reaction Course Journal (60%):

Your private, online summary/reaction course journal is your most important assignment, shared only between you and me--the class cannot see it, and carried out according to instructions I have sent to you via email. In it you summarize and react to all classes, readings, internet sites, and films. Your journal is due for evaluation on 24 January (midnight, Wednesday), 28 February (midnight, Wednesday), and 20 April (midnight, Friday). Grades for those dates are weighted 10%, 40% and 50% respectively. If your journal is incomplete when due for assessment, you will lose at least one letter grade. The method of assessment, table of contents, entry due dates, and other important information are located within the journal. If you earn an A on your journal and book reviews, you will be exempt from the final exam; however, if your journal or book reviews are late or incomplete, you have more than two absences, you did not participate in our discussions, you did not carry out extra credit, or you did not upload assignments to your Writing Portfolio, you must take the final exam. Your journal will be your course archive and your final exam study guide.

Book Reviews (20%):

Two 500-word book reviews are required: my book, Drawing Meaning into History and Manu Herbstein's Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Craft your reviews, due respectively 31 January (Wednesday) and 4 April (Wednesday), according to directions here:

Final Exam (20%):

Your final exam will have three sections, each having two essay questions. You will choose one question from each section. Your final exam will be from 8 - 10:30 a.m. on Monday, 30 April. Bring two essay exam blue books to the final.

Required Texts:

Benjamin, Jules, A Student's Guide to History
Gilbert, Eric and Jonathan Reynolds, Africa in World History
Herbstein, Manu, Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade
Vansina, Jan, Living With Africa
Wilburn, Kenneth, Drawing Meaning into History

Writing Intensive and University Writing Portfolio Information:

HIST 3810 is a writing intensive course in ECU's Writing Across the Curriculum Program. This course contributes three hours toward the twelve-hour WI requirement for students at ECU. For additional information, access:

As part of your writing intensive course, you must submit samples from your summary/reaction journal, along with a description of that assignment and brief responses to four questions about your writing, near the end of the semester. You must upload your samples to your "University Writing Portfolio," which you will access and create (if you have not already done so in a previous WI course) through the "Student Portfolio" link in Pirate Port,

Each year, representatives of ECU's University Writing Program will randomly select a set of University Writing Portfolios from recently graduated students to assess how effectively ECU's writing programs meet the needs of ECU students. The assessment work of the University Writing Program has no bearing on your grades: assessments will be done after a student graduates. Moreover, results of University Writing Portfolio assessments will only be used to improve instruction for future students and will never be reported in any way that connects those results to individual students.

Additional information about creating your University Writing Portfolio and uploading your materials will be provided during the semester. Further assistance with this process will also be available online,, and in person at the University Writing Center,, located in Joyner Library.

Class Attendance Policy: Seven or more absences effect failure.

Class Decorum:

Please enjoy your social media before you enter and after you exit our classroom. Except for note-taking, all communications devices must be turned off. If you abuse this privilege and distract your classmates and me, you will be marked absent and asked to leave. Your classmates and I thank you in advance for your good manners and respectful commitment to intellectual engagement in History of Africa.

Severe Weather and Emergency Alert:

ECU seeks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting accommodations
must first go to the Department of Disability Support Services, Slay 138; call 252-737-1016.

Return to the Academic Home Page

First Online Edition: 30 June 1997
Last Revised: 8 January 2018