Explore Zoom: African Odyssey


Course Details

  • Course Code: ENRICH-0845_AFOD
  • Location: University Park
  • Mode of Study: In-person
  • Places Left: 16
  • Waitlist Places Left: 5
  • Fee: $75
African Odyssey
Two Zoom Sessions
Sat., Mar. 2, 9, 2024, 10 am-12 pm MT

The Sahara, the Rift Valley, Timbuktu, the tropics—the term Africa sparks multiple images and ideas in the imagination. “With a combined geographical and historical lens, this class embarks on an odyssey of the continent’s physical, historical and cultural condition as we connect these disparate themes into an understanding of present-day Africa,” says Judy Okun, an award-winning geography instructor. “In a word, Sub-Saharan Africa is fascinating. Its unique physical situation and the ingenious ways that humans have adapted to the varied and often challenging terrain, climate, and location of this vast landmass are simply awe-inspiring.” First, Okun shares an examination of the land itself and how it reveals an important underpinning of the continent, from the effects of plate tectonics, Africa’s rivers and coastline, climate and biomes, to the changing nature of the Sahara. Next, she connects this backdrop to several major historical events, such as Timbuktu’s development as a learning and trade center. She then introduces some of Africa’s chief focal points: the camel, formation of empires, the development of Swahili East Africa, European contact, colonialism and independence. These physical and historical strands help inform us of Africa’s context in the world today; its resource wealth, relations with foreign powers, population growth and carrying capacity, public health issues, diverse cultures, and a variety of opportunities and challenges for the future.

Judy Okun teaches geography at West Chester University (WCU) in Pennsylvania and leads history and geography workshops for teachers and adult groups throughout the Philadelphia region and the U.S. She holds master’s degrees in history and environmental conservation. In 2020, Okun won WCU’s outstanding faculty award. She is on the board of the Geographical Society of Philadelphia and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s Northeast Chapter.


Enrichment Program
University College
University of Denver
2211 S. Josephine St.
Denver, CO 80210
Phone: 303-871-2291

Program contacts:
Lynn Wells, Director

Charles Stillwagon, Program Manager

Phone: 303-871-2291


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Days of the Week Start Date End Date Time Venue Instructor
Saturday 02 March 2024 09 March 2024 10:00AM - 12:00PM All Students Judith Okun