Fall 2021

South African History

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-322  |  History, as HIST-283

Formerly listed as: BLST-49  |  HIST-64

Moodle site: Course


Sean Redding (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 283 [AF/TE/TR/TSP] and BLST 322) The transition from white-minority rule in South Africa in 1994 seemed to usher in a new era of independence and democracy in the troubled country. The last bastion of white-supremacist colonial rule had fallen. But that transition has not lived up to the high expectations of South Africans. Although many more people now have a political voice, government institutions and significant economic institutions have remained mostly unchanged. In fact, economic and social inequality has increased in the twenty-seven years since Nelson Mandela was first elected President. Questions about whether South Africans can move beyond the legacy of the past haunt the current population.

South African history is undergoing radical shifts in the way it is written, read, and interpreted. This course will explore established and emerging themes in the history of this fascinating country. We will cover a broad period from just before the beginning of white settlement in the mid-1600s to the present. The focus will be on understanding how South African populations have confronted and engaged with colonial rule, profound cultural changes, and the development of an oppressively unequal economic system. What are the roots of the current situation, and how do they shape and constrain future possibilities? How do people in contemporary South Africa confront the ideas that have shaped their understanding of their own country as they reconstruct their history?

Fall semester. Professor Redding.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2021, Spring 2024