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Unit information: Post-Apartheid South Africa: Rainbow Nation and Insurgent Citizens in 2021/22

Unit name Post-Apartheid South Africa: Rainbow Nation and Insurgent Citizens
Unit code HISTM0083
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Rob Skinner
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit examines the contemporary history of post-apartheid South Africa. The twenty five years following the country's first democratic elections has been marked by optimistic visions of reconciliation and national reconstruction, along with the realities of continuing poverty and social inequality, and a more recent resurgence of protest and social unrest. Using a wide range of sources including novels and film, as well as the extensive literature on the history, politics and culture of post-apartheid South Africa, the unit will address a series of questions that explore the nature of a society in transition.

Unit aims:

  1. To provide students a grounding in long-standing debates that have shaped research in contemporary South Africa, and help them understand how and why these evolved.
  2. To give students a broad awareness of the latest interdisciplinary developments in the field of contemporary South(ern) African history.
  3. To introduce students to the sources, methods, and concepts that have underpinned new approaches in this field.
  4. To prepare students for undertaking independent advanced-level research.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successfully completing the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse recent historiographical developments and longer-term trends in the field of contemporary South(ern) African history.
  2. Analyse, synthesise and evaluate a range of primary sources using appropriate methodologies.
  3. Design and frame a research question within relevant historiographies, theories and methodologies.
  4. Compose an extended historical argument rooted in primary source analysis.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including group seminar-style discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

One 5000-word essay (100%). [ILOs 1-4].


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISTM0083).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.