Africa Is Not a Country
Africa has long been characterized as one “nation” or a “country” by uninformed outsiders. This interdisciplinary program will historicize and complicate totalizing narratives that position Africa as undiverse, undeveloped, and principally as an origin for natural and human resources. This program seeks to disrupt colonial narratives by analyzing Africa as a diverse place, exploring examples of different pieces of African history, culture, music, literature, and religion. Through lectures, seminars, books, articles, poetry, songs, and films, students will explore Africa--and, to a lesser extent, African descended people in the diaspora--through multivalent modes of inquiry. Potential readings include Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World; the novel Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; the Nigerian play Death of the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka; The Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, a primary source account of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade; and Shari'ah on Trial: Northern Nigeria's Islamic Revolution. In addition to weekly in-class writing exercises, students will be expected to develop one short (3-page) essay early in the quarter, and a longer (5-8-page) essay later. Students will end the quarter with solo presentations on subjects of their choosing in negotiation with faculty.
Course Reference Numbers
International relations, ethnomusicology, religious studies, African studies, history, performance studies.