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: Race & Reconciliation in the Global South (3 Credits) (Fall 2021)

Professor: Professor William Sturkey, Department of History
Approaches: Historical Analysis (HS) – to be confirmed; Connections: Beyond the North Atlantic (BN) – to be confirmed

Jim Crow in the American South and Apartheid in South Africa were each systems of racial hierarchies designed to promote and protect white supremacy. The global social and political movements that ended each of these systems are among the most revered human rights campaigns in world history. In the wake of such powerful anti-racist movements, each nation continues to confront the legacies and challenges of commemorating these social movements and remembering the destructive systems they worked to overcome.

This comparative class will examine the histories of these white supremacist societies and study the means by which public audiences engage with these racial histories in the American South and South Africa. Through a trans-Atlantic comparative perspective, students in this class will study literature, monuments, and museums to explore the possibilities and challenges of documenting these harrowing histories for public consumption and remembrance.

HNRS 353: Afterlives of Colonialism (3 Credits)

Lecture Series on the History and Politics of South Africa
Approaches: Historical Analysis (HS); Connections: World Before 1750 (WB)

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 393: Internship (6 Credits)

Connection: Experiential Education (EE)