HIST 4302A: Canada: Ideas & Culture  – “Black Nova Scotia”
Fall 2023-Winter 2024

Instructor: Dr. Mary Owusu

Introduction: This course uses an inter-disciplinary approach to historical study. It explores various aspects of African Nova Scotian (ANS) history, culture, and ideas. A central theme is the adoption of Afrocentric ideas by Black Nova Scotians to centre their world and their experiences. As African Nova Scotians represent a particular aspect of the African Diaspora, this course will explore their experiences in both a regional and global context while drawing on Afrocentricity as both theory and praxis. We will consider the manifold connections between Africa, the African Diaspora, and Black Nova Scotia. The African Nova Scotian experience will form a lens for the class to discuss the social, economic, and political development of Blacks in Nova Scotia and Canada in general. One key objective of the course is to introduce students to methodological and conceptual issues involved in doing research into African Nova Scotian history. The course will be taught from an anti-black racism perspective.

Class Format: This course uses a seminar style approach to teaching and learning. Students are expected to participate in class discussions on historical documents, images, films, and course readings. We meet once / week in a three-hour block.

Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course students can:

  • demonstrate knowledge of Black Nova Scotian history.
  • discuss African Nova Scotian culture and values.
  • identify Afrocentric thoughts, its paradigms, and its worldview.
  • identify appropriate research methods for African Nova Scotian history.
  • appreciate varied methods of historical research, study, and analysis for African Nova Scotian history.
  • design/ develop an anti-Black racism guide using the African Nova Scotian experience.

Assessment: The course evaluation is designed around research and collaborative work. You will be assessed on your reflection posts and in-class group presentations for the Fall term. Each student will be required to write a research paper with a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor in the Winter term.

Required readings: 

The Times of African Nova Scotians Vol I & II (Halifax: DBDLI).

Bridglal, Pachai, The Nova Scotian Black Experience Through the Centuries (Nimbus, 2007).

Harvey Amani Whitfield, Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1860 (University of Vermont Press, 2006).

Questions? Please email me at: mary.owusu@cunet.carleton.ca