Honors Section AFRICA: GEOGRAPHY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN CULTURE AND SOCIETIES
pp. 177-199
1. Focus Question:  How did the physical and geological features of Africa affect the development of African societies?
In what sense have Africans societies, outside of the Nile valley and the Ethiopian highlands, down to the recent times been civilized?  Why don’t we know more about African societies?  What are our most important sources of information for most past African societies?    What geographical feature dominates Africa?   Which is the only African river with a relatively long navigable reach below its cataracts (waterfalls)?  How much of Africa is tropical rain forest?  What natural resources have Africans enjoyed and what have they traditionally lacked? 
2. Focus Question:  What were the characteristics of early African societies?
Where and when did homo sapiens (sapiens) evolve? How accurate is the view that Africa below the Sahara was isolated until discovered by the Europeans?  How many languages are found in Africa?   What affected the development of the complex language map of present-day Africa?  What is the most widely dispersed “tongues” in Africa?  Where are the Khoisan speakers found today?   Why cannot racial theories be used to explain the developments of languages, agriculture and state-building in Africa? 
3. Focus Question:  What was the nature of the early Saharan cultures?
What feature has separated the North African and Egyptian worlds from the wide expanse of the Sudan and , farther south, West and central Africa?  How did the climate of the Sahara change after 2500 B.C.?  What types of people lived in this area prior to 2500 B.C.?  To what extent was North Africa "cut off" from the sub-Saharan Africa after 1000 B.C.E.?  What impact did the desiccation of the Sahara have on later settled communities?   Where did the Nok people live and for what are they famous? 
4. Focus Question:  What was the nature of Nilotic Africa and Ethiopia?  What factors influenced their development?
Where was the Kingdom of Kush located?  Which foreign civilization had the greatest cultural influence upon Kush, in what way?  The Napatan empire flourished during which Egyptian kingdom?   How did the Napatan rulers think of themselves?  Which “Egyptian” dynasty was actually Kushite?  How and by whom were the Kushites forced out of Egypt?  What factor increasingly isolated the Kushites from Egypt and the Mediterranean world?  What was the primary economic role of Meroitic Kush from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.?  The Aksums were a mixture of what two peoples?  What language type was spoken in Aksum?  What was the basis of wealth for the Aksumite empire?  What development eventually eclipsed Aksumite power?  Why did the Aksumites initially enjoy relatively cordial relations with the Muslims? After about 1300 which state was the only predominately Christian state in Africa, what had happened to the others? 
5. Focus Question:  What type of societies developed in Central, Southern and East Africa?
For what prehistoric, artistic work are the Khoisan ancestors most famous?  Where are the Khoisan-speakers mainly found today?  Approximately how many languages are in the Bantu group?  From where did the Bantu peoples begin their migrations?  How were the proto-Bantu peoples adaptative?  What explanations can be given as to how the Bantu managed to impose their languages on earlier cultures?  When is there evidence of long distance trade along the coast of East Africa?  Which peoples tended to dominate this trade?  What political unit generally existed along the Eastern coast?   What goods were imported and exported prior to the tenth century?  Which goods were most important?  The diversity of the highlands of East Africa reflects what process?

savannah
Sahara
Sahel
Sudan