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 390.03S: Race, Empire, and Resistance

Professor: Sarah Shields
Approaches: Historical Analysis (HS)
Connections: Beyond North Atlantic (BN)

This course introduces students to the history of empire, the role of race in creating and sustaining it, and the ways that people have resisted the imposition of outsider control. It will also introduce you to the methods historians use to understand the past. By the end of the course, you will not only have learned about the history of race, imperialism, and resistance, but also developed the analytical skills you will need to present your ideas effectively and coherently.

HNRS 390.04S: TBD

This course is still TBD. Look below to see an example of a past course taught on this program.

Afterlives of Colonialism: Southern African Experiences (3 Credits)

Professor: Thierry Rousset
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)