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Aims & Assessment


By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Critically analyse and evaluate a broad range of primary sources relating to southern African history and the experiences and perspectives of men, women and children in the southern African past
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of the history of society and politics in C19th and C20th southern Africa
  • Effectively communicate ideas, and make informed, coherent and persuasive arguments, about how ideologies and practices surrounding race, ethnicity, gender and age have been constructed and challenged over time in C19th and C20th southern Africa
  • Critically review and consolidate theoretical, methodological, and historiographical ideas relating to the study of southern Africa



The module will be assessed in four ways:

  • Seminar contribution (10%)

  • 1,500-word essay due Term 1, Week 7 (10%)

  • 3,000-word source-based essay due Term 2, Week 5 (40%)

  • 3,000-word essay due Term 3, Week 3 (40%)

Seminar contribution

This assessment will be based on students' contribution to seminars over the two terms. Marking criteria for seminar contribution can be found in the Undergraduate Handbook.

1,500-word essay

This essay should present a clear and persuasive argument, engaging critically with the historiography. It should be based on one of the seminar questions or you can develop your own question if you confirm with me in advance.

3,000-word essay

This should be a broader essay than the 1,500 word piece, again presenting a clear and persuasive argument and engaging critically with the historiography. You may also want to analyse primary material. The essay should be based on one of the seminar questions or you can develop your own question if you confirm with your seminar tutor in advance.

3,000-word source-based essay

This essay should provide focussed analysis of a primary source or set of sources. Examples include novels, short stories, film, documentary, music, newspapers and the reports of international or non-governmental organisations. If you work with one type of source (e.g. personal testimonies), you could choose a question like 'how useful are personal testimonies for understanding the history of domestic service in southern Africa?'. If you choose a set of different sources (e.g. personal testimonies, newspapers and government documents), you could choose a question like 'how can historians examine the history of domestic service in southern Africa?', and you would need to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the different sources that you've chosen. The essay should show your ability to analyse and situate primary sources in context. What this means is that you need to relate your analysis of primary sources to the secondary literature, both methodological (e.g. on working with personal testimonies or archival sources) and on the particular topics and subject specific (e.g. domestic service, child labour, masculinity).


Use the Essay Writing Checklist in the History Department Undergraduate Handbook to help you to plan and prepare your assessments. The Handbook also has information on presentation and referencing and how to avoid plagiarism.

Please note that essay word limits are absolute and do not include footnotes or the bibliography. Essays which exceed the word limit will be penalised.

Extensions may be granted but only in exceptional circumstances. All extension requests should be made via Tabula in advance of the published assessment deadline.


You will receive feedback on your essays and assignments on Tabula. Use the mark scheme to help you to understand the criteria that you will be marked against and therefore need to think carefully about when researching, planning and writing. The usual turn-around for assignments is 20 working days. Meetings to discuss feedback are optional, but you are strongly encouraged to take the opportunity to receive individual advice on how to strengthen your work.

You will also be asked to provide feedback on the module content and delivery at several points throughout the year so that we can address any problems and, where possible, make any necessary adjustments to the syllabus and teaching practice. This feedback is anonymous. Your tutor will think carefully about this feedback and post a response here:

Interim Module Feedback 2019-2020

End of Module Feedback 2019-2020