Africa: A Comprehensive Overview

Lecture Series Description: This series is an A-to-Z introduction to Africa. Topics include the physical geography and resources (when relevant), history, migrations, ethnicities, politics, economics, wars, social problems, or whatever reveals the most important themes of each country and gives us an understanding of the basic background of every African country.

Lecture Series Information: Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., starting February 7, 2018. O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium, University of St. Thomas St. Paul Campus

Lecture Series Educator: Dr. Robert Werner is a Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of St. Thomas. He has taught a wide variety of courses, including World Geography, Africa, Race & Ethnicity in South Africa (a study-abroad course), Latin America, Native Peoples of Minnesota, Human Migration, and Geographic Information Systems. His past research interests and publications are about Bolivia, Inquiry-based learning methods, and Geographic Information Systems. He has two current research interests: Armenia, and the Native peoples of the northern plains.

Fee for the series:  $90.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card on our secure page, click on this link:

To print out a form to complete and then mail in with a check or cash payment, click on this link: ‌Winter-Spring 2018 Registration Form

Link to campus mapSt. Paul Campus Map

Detailed Lecture Series Syllabus:

Feb. 7

Introduction to Africa

Physical geography (maps, dynamics, and interrelations of climate, soils, vegetation, agriculture, resources); historical geography (early human migration, great empires of Africa, European exploration, the slave trade, colonialism, independence, post-indepence); and political, economic, and social geography (economic development, political situations, international relations, ethnicities, and current migrations).

Feb. 14

North Africa

Egypt (physical geography, 20th century history, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab Spring, the Arab Winter), North & South Sudan (geographic differences, ethnicities, separation of north and south, current problems of each), Libya (natural resources, current fragmentation), Tunisia (the hope for an Arab democracy), Algeria (war of independence, relations with France, poor governance, isolation), Morocco (resources, governance, tensions with Algeria, occupation of Western Sahara), and the Sahelian countries of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad (desertification, production, trade, governance, ethnic differences, and political instability).

Feb. 21

West Africa

Senegal (a relative success), Gambia (colonial and present-day history), Guinea (colonial hisotry, governance, instability, corruption), Guinea-Bissau (same), Sierra leone (colonial and current history), Liberia (ditto), Ivory Coast (same themes as Senegal, plus recent ethnic instability), Togo (politics and instability), Benin (same), Nigeria (ethnic groups, unrest, resources, separatist movements, corruption, education), and Cameroon (African transportation, current political situation).

Feb. 28

Central Africa

The Central African Republic (the current war), the Democratic Republic of congo (colonial history, Mobutu, the CIA, Cold War Africa, the current political situation), the Republic of Congo (similar), Gabon (a curse-of-oil story, Omar Bongo, current government), Angola (resources, Cold War Africa, civil war, oil wealth, immigration), and Namibia (environment, colonial history, present-day politics).

March 7

Southern Africa

Zambia (copper, landlocked, recent history), Botswana (why it is an African success story), South Africa (historical migrations, ethnicities, colonialism, independence, current politics, social issues), Lesotho, and Swaziland (how they got to be countries), Zimbabwe (colonial history, Robert Mugabe, current situation), Malawi (landscape, colonial history), Mozambique (how the colonial past shapes the present), and Madagascar (environment, how migration history leads to present-day politics).

March 14

East Africa

Tanzania (Nyerere's socialism, current issues), Burundi (migration history leading to ethnic differences), Rwanda (same, plus genocida and recovery), Uganda (AIDS in Africa, recent political history), Kenya (resources, colonial history, present politics), Ethiopia (past empire, ethnic problems, governance), Somalia (colonial and recent history, fragmentation, war), Djibouti (a colonial port), and Eritrea (independence from Ethiopia, an oppressive state).  Conclusion: what to watch in the future.


 See below for links to weekly readings and other program resources

Week 1-Reading 1 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 2 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 3 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 4 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 5 (Africa)
Week 1-Reading 6 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 7 (Africa) Week 1-Reading 8 (Africa)    
Week 2-Reading 1 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 2 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 3 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 4 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 5 (Africa)
Week 2-Reading 6 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 7 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 8 (Africa) Week 2-Reading 9 (Africa) Week 2 Video Links (Africa)
 Week 3-Reading 1 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 2 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 3 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 4 (Africa) Week 3-Reading 5 (Africa)
 Week 3-Reading 6 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 7 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 8 (Africa)  Week 3-Reading 9 (Africa)  
 Week 4-Reading 1 (Africa)  Week 4-Reading 2 (Africa)  Week 4-Reading 3 (Africa)  Week 4-Reading 4 (Africa) Week 4-Reading 5 (Africa)
 Week 4-Reading 6 (Africa)  Week 4-Reading 7 (Africa)  Week 4-Reading 8 (Africa)