Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5844M Sexuality and Disease in African History

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Shane Doyle

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will examine the history of sexuality and disease in Africa from the nineteenth century to the present day. It will consider African philosophies of healing, as well as western preconceptions of African epidemiology and sexuality. It will then focus on the impact of colonialism on disease prevalence and treatment, and on patterns of sexual behaviour. Finally, the module will analyse recently emerging diseases in Africa, focusing particularly on HIV and Ebola.Content note: to discuss these themes effectively it is necessary for us to read/look at/discuss material which covers some topics which may be challenging for you, including gender violence, and homophobic/racist language. The module tutor can provide more information on this if required.


The objectives of this module are:
1. To explore the history of disease and sexuality in Africa.
2. To analyse the historiographical debates relating to these themes.
3. To understand how changing patterns of disease and sexuality have affected other aspects of African life, and how they have been represented.
4. To critically analyse a range of primary sources, both written and visual, relating to these issues.
5. To formulate sophisticated and nuanced arguments in relation to these issues, in written and verbal form.
6. To further develop generic, transferable and subject specific skills.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should:
1. have developed an understanding of the history of disease and sexuality in Africa
2. have a sophisticated knowledge of the relevant historiography, including the most recent developments in the field
3. be able to analyse a range of source materials, from oral histories to medical records
4. be capable of developing coherent arguments, derived from primary and secondary sources.


1. Introduction
2. Pre-colonial perceptions of Africa: Disease
3. Pre-colonial perceptions of Africa: Sexuality
4. Conquest and the ecology of disease
5. Early colonial epidemics: Sleeping Sickness
6. Sex and sin: STDs and colonialism
7. Disease and modernity: Malnutrition and TB
8. Sexuality and reproduction
9. HIV/AIDS: Origins
10. HIV/AIDS: Responses
11. Emerging diseases: Ebola

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will read extensively each week in order to prepare for class discussion. They will also have to prepare for two oral presentations and two essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through ensuring all students participate in class discussion, by evaluating performance in oral presentations, by assessment of essay scripts.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 730.00
Essay1 x 4,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of examination week 160.00
PresentationVerbal presentation, format to be determined by tutor10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:41:14


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019