Ancient African states formed in very different contexts and took a variety of forms. What factors led to the creation of these diverse state-forms? Despite differences, were there common political priorities in the different regions where large states formed in ancient Africa?

African History, 350-01
Paper 1
Hard copy due in class at 1 pm on September 24
Electronic version on BB by 11 pm Sept. 24

Ancient Africa: Sources, States, and Societies in Transition

Choose one of the following topics and write a 1000-1200 word paper using the required sources.
You must use at least three sources, two of which must be articles. You may use the film “Tree of Iron” but must combine it with two readings selected from Collins or other required essays through week 5 (this does not include online exhibits/essays, only assigned articles—please ask for clarification if this is not clear to you). You may use one of the online exhibits for Week 5, but you must also use two articles. My Powerpoint presentations and lectures do not count towards these 3 sources.
You must follow the formatting guidelines detailed in the syllabus.
You must use footnotes and cite all sources you use. Plagiarism is a punishable offense. A link to the basic style of citation is in the Assignments folder.
You must follow the guidelines for paper submission as stated on the syllabus.
I encourage you to come to office hours for help. You must email us an intro para., thesis statement, or some statement of purpose by Friday, Sept. 18, 7 pm, to be able to get help over email thereafter. You may still come to office hours next week.

Topic 1    Beyond Kingship

Ancient African states formed in very different contexts and took a variety of forms. What factors led to the creation of these diverse state-forms? Despite differences, were there common political priorities in the different regions where large states formed in ancient Africa?

Topic 2    Methods of Documenting the Past

Sources have been a particular challenge for reconstructing the early history of Africa. What have new kinds of sources and interdisciplinary methods revealed about Africa’s past and about history as a discipline?

Topic 3    People, Not Places

History classes are often structured on Africa, Asia, or Europe—that is, on a location. What if the topic was migration—how does focusing on the movement of peoples change our perspective on the past? Use examples from early Africa to examine migration as a process that reveals important transformations in the creation of civilizations.

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