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Keywords: West Africa, ECOWAS, colonialism, Lake Chad, syncretism

Global Regions: Africa

Countries: Benin , Burkina Faso , Cape Verde , Gambia , Ghana , Guinea , Guinea-Bissau , Ivory Coast , Liberia , Mali , Mauritania , Niger , Nigeria , Senegal , Sierra Leone , Togo

Produced in this U.S. Region: Midwest

Universities: Michigan State University

Subjects: Economics, Government, History and Social Studies

Resource Types: Curriculum

Time Periods: Contemporary, Modern

Themes: Culture and Society, Economic Development, Globalization, Governance, Imperialism and Colonialism, Political Economy

Levels: High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)


Exploring Africa, 17: West Africa

Examines how West Africa has been constructed by geographers based on geographic, cultural, economic and political features of the region.

Module 17 of Michigan State University African Studies Center's online curriculum series Exploring Africa! looks at factors used to categorize the region of West Africa and evaluates their usefulness.

Activity 1 explores common themes in the history of West Africa.

Activity 2 examines the geography of the region and how levels of rainfall and vegetation affect the population.

Activity 3 discusses culture, society and production, including religious traditions and syncretism, the influence of colonialism and globalization, trade patterns, daily work and migration.

Activity 4 focuses on current events in West Africa and teaches critical listening to news reports, with case studies of reporting on Liberia and Cape Verde. Includes useful newslinks.

MSU ASC's website also includes an index of resources for students of Africa.


Produced at: Michigan State University, African Studies Center

Recommended by: MSU ASC

Length: Two to four class periods

Year Produced: 2002

Material: Maps of languages of West Africa, former kingdoms and empires, colonial West Africa, vegetation, population density, major rivers, individual states, images and links

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