Get introduced to South Africa’s rich and complex history through courses that are grounded in the experience of living and learning in a dynamic society in transition.
Students often find that by the end of the semester, the combination of academic course work and internships in Cape Town’s diverse communities have enabled them to become participants rather than observers in the new South Africa.


HNRS 353: Modern South Africa History: Political Culture since 1945 (3 Credits)

Professor: Susan Pennybacker
Connection: Beyond the North Atlantic
Approach: Seminar in Historical Analysis
Major Credit: History

We explore the rise of the apartheid state and its opposition, through the reading of recent works of political and cultural history, prose and fiction. Students will complete a short essay and oral presentation,  and share their weekly reactions to our readings and viewing. The study of film, artistic and photographic expression, and of locations and still-living persons in Cape Town, will accompany the reading of works of history and literature. Archival work in local and on-line collections is encouraged.

(The course also satisfies appropriate UNC History Dept. requirements)

HNRS 353: Contemporary South Africa (3 Credits)

Lecture Series on the History and Politics of South Africa
Connection: Beyond the North Atlantic

This course covers the emergence of the human community in southern Africa, from the earliest times, exploring the notion of the “Cradle of Humankind” as our common source and then tracing the arrivals of peoples in the southern tip of Africa and the complex interaction between peoples of vastly different backgrounds, cultures and worldviews. The course studies the development of Apartheid, its origins and effect on the peoples of South Africa and its slow demise and opposition resulting in the advent of Mandela’s democratic “rainbow Nation”. Students explore this history through reading and through interviews with community members in Cape Town. They look academically at the stories of Apartheid as well as listen to the narratives of South Africans who have lived through the complex and changing political scenes. Site visits to places such as Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 20 of his 27 years in prison complete this part of the course.

The course is based on the principles of ‘experiential learning’ in which students are encouraged to use their own initiative and follow their own selected interests while at the same time, getting to grips with one of the most interesting and dramatic stories of social and political transformation in recent times.

HNRS 357: Internship (6 Credits)

Connection: Experiential Education (EE)