Learn the intellectual history of Black communities on the continent and in diaspora
Study the importance of the political and cultural manifestations of nationalism, consciousness and pan-Africanism to the global Black experience
Understand the contributions of Black leaders and movements to the global ideas on humanism, republicanism, and democracy
Develop vital critical analysis skills as you map the development of Black intellectual history
Hone your ability to conduct research into how historians have and continue to explore the Black experience
Learn to write critically and confidently on Black historiography and appreciate the values and challenges of various approaches to Black history
The Foundation Certificate in Black Political Thought and Culture is for students with an interest in the theory, history and real world manifestations of political ideas within the Black experience.
In this engaging and insightful programme, students will explore the development of Black political thought from antiquity to the present day, both on the continent and in the diaspora. Students will dive into theology, philosophy and political theory by exploring the intellectual histories underpinning various political movements.
Students will be supported to take a Pan-African and multidisciplinary approach to the programme as they engage with oral histories, written sources, music, photography, and poetry to map the synergies and dislocations in the ideas that have propelled the global Black experience over the last two hundred years.
The Foundation Certificate includes the following components:
Each Course Core is examined by essay and the Seminar Series is examined by attendance and participation. Seminars are live interactive sessions held on a weekly/bi-weekly basis during term time. Students are expected to attend all seminars while enrolled on the Foundation Certificate.
This Core Course is taught in two parts.
The first part of this course is taught through the short course, Introduction to African Religion. The focus is on giving students an understanding of the theology, philosophy and liturgy of African religion. Considering both a continental and a diasporic manifestation of that religion, students will gain an understanding of the role that religion plays is shaping African identity, personal and communal.
The second part of this course is taught through the short course, Vodou and Politics in Haiti. The focus is on religion as a form of political expression, looking at how Vodou has evolved to reflect the extraordinary political history of its adherents. The course is an opportunity to understand the wider persecution of African religion and other epistemologies of the South, while considering how states has gone about managing African religious expression.
This course will consider the intellectual history of West Africa in the 19th century, mapping the rise of African modernity and concomitant liberation thought among Africa’s latest intelligentsia, those educated along western lines. This was the age of the proliferation of ever-greater formalised education and Africans were in the thick of this revolution.
Through close and critical readings of primary texts, this course will explore how the new African intelligentsia dealt with issues such as religion, government, citizenship, education, race and modernity. We will look at their contributions to epistemology, ontology, educational philosophy, political philosophy and political theory.
By exploring the seminal period of Black intellectual history, students will get a solid grounding in African contributions to theories of the social contract, citizenship and democracy.
Considering Black Nationalism, Négritude, African Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Black Consciousness, students will explore the ideas that underpinned the challenge to European political and intellectual hegemony, on the continent and in the diaspora, in the first half of the 20th century.
Black thinkers of this period made immeasurable contributions to our understanding of humanism, human rights, citizenship, republicanism, and democracy, laying the ideological foundations for the “new Black states” they hoped would emerge from the debris of slavery and colonisation. Students will dive into the intellectual life-worlds of some of the most well-known Black thinkers to understand how interconnections and intersections manifested in political projects that propelled communities towards nationhood and ever-greater citizenship.
By exploring the intellectual history of the march toward nationhood and the crescendos of diasporic campaigns for civil rights, students will acquire the intellectual foundation necessary to engage with the new African states and the new Black experience (or, the post-colonial experience) of the second half of the 20th century.
Considering the nature of the states proposed and the states that emerged, this module takes a political economy approach to exploring the ideas and events of the period to understand why particular political, social and economic settlements prevailed in some parts of the continent and not in others. Particularly important is the placing of continental events within wider conversations of anti-imperialism and the Cold War. Students will gain an understanding of how external actors influenced developments in Africa and how African patterns of republicanism influenced global discourses on the relationship between the state and the economy.
Students will consider in particular the political spirit of the literary works produced, exploring how they dealt with issues of identity, belonging, “Africa” and “blackness”. Combining literary criticism, political enquiry and historical analysis, this module takes an interdisciplinary approach that will help students nurture their critical thinking skills. By exploring the legacy of the movements, students will consider the unique contributions made by Black writers of the period to Anglophone and Francophone literary canons.
In particular, students will explore issues of masculinity, femininity and the power of the state through a study of music, fashion, photography and illustration. Students will consider concepts such as the aesthetics of artistic “radicalism”, the notion of “legitimacy” and “counter culture”, as well as ideas around “empowerment” and “resistance” as manifest in the creative expressions of the time. This unique module aims to give the ideas considered earlier in the course a three-dimensional character.
Students will take: Core Course 1 plus three further Core Courses
* please note, not all modules run every quarter
By the end of the Foundation Certificate, students will have an understanding of:
By the end of the Foundation Certificate, students should have acquired the ability:
Apeike Umolu is the founder of the African History Project. She is an educator and historian with over 15 years of experience supporting students in the attainment of academic excellence. Specialising in African history, she is a passionate historian and has undertaken historical studies at the University of Oxford. She researches extensively on West African political history and is working on her first book On Black Consciousness.
This Foundation Certificate aims to give students an understanding of the development of Black political thought and culture, with a particular focus on the developments of the 19th and 20th centuries, allowing students to map the ideas that have propelled the global Black experience from antiquity to today.
The lectures are delivered on an online learning platform through recorded video lectures, and supported by curated reading lists, knowledge questions and tutor support.
To find out more about our lectures, please click here.
Seminars are delivered live on Zoom on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Students need to attend and participate in all the seminars held while they are enrolled.
To find out more about our seminars, please click here.
Students have 12 months from registration to complete the required core courses, attend the seminars, and submit the assignments.
To find out more about our Assignments click here.
On successful completion of the Foundation Certificate, participants will be issued with a Certificate of Completion and be eligible for an academic reference.
There are no entry requirements however students should have passion, the necessary time to commit to study, the commitment to take part in seminars, and complete assignments.
There is no deadline as applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
There are no interviews to gain admission to our Foundation Certificates.
All applications are submitted via our online portal. Please click on the enrolment button on each course page.
The Foundation Certificate is offered on a part time basis.
There is no reference or personal statement required to take a course at the African History Project.
We recommend that a candidate have at least Intermediate English Proficiency (B2 on the Common European Language Framework) to complete the course.
Yes, candidates can make payment in instalments. Please see the course page.
The African History Project does not provide financial assistance for the Foundation Certificates at this time.
Our courses are delivered online using video lectures and live seminars as well as making use of digital archives and audio-visual resources to enhance the learning experience and widen access to Black historical study at the highest of levels. Hence there is no need for physical presence in the UK in order to take the course.
We teach the histories of Black peoples in their entirety, as experienced by Black peoples not solely European engagement with or interpretations of those peoples giving students an authentic understanding of Black cultures
We champion the work of Black historians and primary sources from Black historical figures including the use of oral histories, poetry, art, artefacts and music to explore Black ideas of self and community
We have a pan-African approach to the study of Black histories allowing students to explore the influence of and impact on contemporaneous global Black experiences
Our online courses make use of digital archives and audio-visual resources to enhance the learning experience and widen access to Black historical study at the highest of levels.
Our lessons have been designed by experienced lecturers and tutors in consultation with historians to ensure that they are engaging, critical and informative.
Our video lectures provide robust introductions to topics and support students as they work through readings and engage with the sources.
Students receive a certificate of completion and full transcript on successful completion of the course and are eligible for an academic reference.