African History Project - Black Americans Back to Department of
Black Political Thought and Culture
Foundation Certificate in
Black Political Thought and Culture
Dissecting the Black Experience, on the continent and in diaspora ENROL NOW

Dive into the histories and legacies of the global Black experience


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

Master the skills to write robustly and critically about Black political thought and culture

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

Course Outline


1 Year | 4 Courses | Live Seminars | 4 Essays

  • Start date: rolling, open for registration
  • Seminars: Saturdays, 7pm – 8pm (London), Live on Zoom
  • Lectures: Pre-Recorded, supported by curated reading lists, knowledge questions and tutor support
  • Assessment: 4 x 1000-word essays

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.

Programme Structure

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.

Core Course 1: African Religion - its theology, philosophy and politics

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.

Core Course 2: Rise of the New African Intelligentsia - State, Citizen and the African Personality in the 19th Century

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. 

Core Course 3: Pan-Africanism, African Nationalism and Black Consciousness in the 20th Century

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. 

Module 4: Socialism, Populism and the Shaping of New Africa

Most African states to emerge in the 20th century were firmly on the socialist-populist spectrum as thinkers and politicians worked to reconcile the political and social dislocations of the previous half a century. In this module, students will explore the contributions of Black thinkers, both on the continent and in diaspora, to the development of socialist thought and the implementation of populist political action.

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.

Module 5: Négritude & Renaissance: The Poetry and Prose of Identity

The two biggest cultural movements of the early 20th century were the Harlem Renaissance and the Négritude movement, through which Black artists sought to create and curate distinct cultural identities that validated the Black experience.

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.

Module 6: The Sounds and Visual Cultures of [R]evolution, 1960 to 2000

In this module, students will explore the musical and visual cultures of the Black experience in the second half of the 20th century. From the resistance narratives of Fela Kuti and N.W.A, to the narratives of re-appropriation manifest in the Black is Beautiful and Black Power movements, this course will challenge students to undertake a critical reading of the Black cultural experience, both on the continent and in diaspora, during this period.

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Foundation Certificate, students will have an understanding of:

  • The theological, philosophical and liturgical underpinnings of African religion;
  • The role that religion has played in Black intellectual history;
  • African concepts of the state and the citizen, and the relationship that bind the two;
  • The intellectual response to the dislocations of the enslavement, colonialism, and racial injustice on the continent and in the diaspora;
  • The growth of Black and African iterations of nationalism, Pan-Africanism, consciousness theories, and the relationship between them;
  • The intellectual foundations of the new African states of the 20th century;
  • The role of literary and wider cultural movements in political expression in the Black experience.

By the end of the Foundation Certificate, students should have acquired the ability:

  • to conduct research into an area of historical debate, including the use of online digital archives;
  • to chart the development of ideas across an expanse of time and space;
  • to comprehend and analyse complex political ideas;
  • to engage with the historiography of the period;
  • to write critically and confidently on political and cultural  movements.


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.

Programme Aims

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. 


  • 4 x 1000-word essay
  • Seminar attendance and participation

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the entry requirements for the Foundation Certificate?

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.

What is the deadline for application?

There is no deadline as applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Will I be invited to an interview before a decision is made on my application?

There are no interviews to gain admission to our Foundation Certificates.

How do I apply?

All applications are submitted via our online portal. Please click on the enrolment button on each course page.

Is the Foundation Certificate full time or part time?

The Foundation Certificate is offered on a part time basis.

Do I need to provide a reference or personal statement?

There is no reference or personal statement required to take a course at the African History Project.

What level of English do I need to complete the course?

We recommend that a candidate have at least Intermediate English Proficiency (B2 on the Common European Language Framework) to complete the course.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, candidates can make payment in instalments. Please see the course page.

Is there any financial assistance available?

The African History Project does not provide financial assistance for the Foundation Certificates at this time.

I am not based in the UK, does this matter?

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.


Apeike Umolu
Director and Lecturer
African History Project - Apeike Umolu

Study Black history constructively

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

Online Study

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.

Expert Tuition

Our lessons have been designed by experienced lecturers and tutors in consultation with historians to ensure that they are engaging, critical and informative.

Video Lectures

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.