Online course on Medieval Africa to begin next year

The Medieval Academy of America and the National Humanities Center have teamed up to launch an online course on “Medieval Africa and Africans.”  It will run from January 11 to February 26, 2021, and is aimed at K-12 educators. 

“Several years ago, the MAA was approached by Andy Mink of the National Humanities Center with the idea of co-sponsoring an online course for K-12 educators,” explains Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. “It quickly became clear that the subject of the course should be Africa and Africans in the Middle Ages. This particular topic sits at the intersection of several different issues that have become increasingly important to the Medieval Academy in recent years: expanding the geographic and chronological boundaries of Medieval Studies; pushing back against misguided and commonly accepted ideas of a backwards and isolated medieval Africa; and working directly with K-12 educators in the United States to develop medieval modules in keeping with current research. By working with educators as they develop curricula and lesson plans, we hope that we can have an impact on the baseline of knowledge about the Middle Ages that students take with them into the world of social media and into the higher-ed classroom.”


The course, which has a registration fee of $125 (US), is given this description:

Given the wide popularity of Eurocentric medieval fantasies, it has never been more important that we teach our students about the reality of the Middle Ages rather than the fictionalized fantasies with which they are accustomed. In order to examine Medieval Studies and expand the “Global Middle Ages” beyond the traditional boundaries of Western Europe, this course will concentrate on premodern Africa. While often overlooked, the civilizations that spanned the vast African continent produced great achievements, in conditions of relative parity with their European contemporaries, before the oceanic dominance of a few Western powers. This course will contextualize Medieval Africa in terms of its contemporary relationships with the medieval globe as well as its modern impact.

To register, please go to the National Humanities Center website.

Top Image: Africa depicted in a 17th century portolan chart