Introduction to African Studies
An exploration of the past, present, and future of Africa in a multidisciplinary setting. A dozen Africanist faculty members collaborate in an effort to shed light on both the huge potential of Africa and its peoples and the enormous challenges the continent faces. Topics vary from politics, economics, conservation, biodiversity, climate change, the environment, health and disease, and written and oral literature, to the impact of the world on Africa as well as Africa's contributions to and place in worlds present and past. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
An assessment and understanding of the evolutionary history and processes in our lineage over the last 7 to 10 million years, with a focus on the ~2.5 million year history of our own genus (Homo).This outline of the history of our lineage offers an anthropological and evolutionary context for what it means to be human today. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Introduction to African Literature and Film
Professor/InstructorWendy Laura Belcher
African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the 20th century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest in the world. South Africans have won more Nobel Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, and epistemology.
Music of Africa
Introduction to the vocal and instrumental music of Africa south of the Sahara. Topics include the place of music in society, the influence of language on musical composition, principles of rhythmic organization, urban popular music, "art" music as a response to colonialism, and the impact of African music on the earliest forms of African American music. Two 90-minute lectures.
Documentary Filmmaking in Kenya
This seminar will address two essential questions: How can the art of film advance the causes of science? How do communities use media to support their environmental activism? Based in Kenya, students will be trained in digital video production, screenwriting, and editing, and will produce a series of short and long documentaries. Filming will entail numerous trips into the field, interviewing, and recording. The seminar will help students begin to understand crucial international development issues, e.g., water, wildlife, and land use, and how to communicate memorably about them through video.
Professor/InstructorEmmanuel H. P. M. Kreike
A survey course that begins with an overview of the continent at the end of the third century A.D. and ends with the death of Moshoeshoe in the 19th century. Focuses on several great themes of African history: long-distance trade, state formation, migration, religious conversion to either Islam or Christianity, forms of domestic slavery, and the impact of the slave trade. Two 90-minute classes.
The Anthropology of Development
Professor/InstructorCarolyn M. Rouse
Why do development projects fail? This course examines why well-meaning development experts get it wrong. It looks closely at what anthropologists mean by culture and why most development experts fail to attend to the cultural forces that hold communities together. By examining development projects from South Asia to the United States, students learn the relevance of exchange relations, genealogies, power, religion, and indigenous law.
Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
Professor/InstructorJacob S. Dlamini
The impact of European colonial rule on the traditional societies of Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the dominant themes will be the emergence of the intelligentsia in colonial areas as proponents of nationalism. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Landmarks of French Culture
An interdisciplinary study of places, periods, persons, or questions that helped define French cultural identity, from its origins to the present. Areas of study could include courtly love; gothic art; the Enyclopedia; the Belle Epoque; the Figure of the Intellectual from Zola to Simone de Beauvoir; the sociocultural revolution of May 1968; colonization, its discontents, and its aftermaths; France in the age of globalization; Franco-American relations; etc. Prerequisite: a 200-level course in French or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes.
Politics in Africa
A comparative approach to African political systems. The meanings of the concepts of modernization, national integration, and development are explored. Topics include the inheritances of colonial rule, independence and the new tasks, political patterns in the postindependence period, prospects for political change, and African interstate relations. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Topics in African Studies
Designed to allow juniors and seniors enrolled in the program to examine significant problems in Africa in an interdisciplinary manner. Topics vary from year to year, reflecting faculty research interests. Prerequisite: one core course and one cognate course, or instructor's permission. Required of all program concentrators; open to others by permission of program director and course instructor.
Topics in Anthropology
Study of a selected topic in anthropology; the particular choice will vary from year to year.
Art, Apartheid, and South Africa
Professor/InstructorChika O. Okeke-Agulu
Apartheid, the political doctrine of separation of races in South Africa (1948-1990), dominated the (South) African political discourse in the second half of the 20th century. While it lasted, art and visual cultures were marshaled in the defense and contestation of its ideologies. Since the end of Apartheid, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, and scholars continue to reexamine the legacies of Apartheid, and the social, philosophical, and political conditions of non-racialized South Africa. Course readings examine issues of race, nationalism and politics, art and visual culture, and social memory in South Africa. AAS Subfield: GRE
Topics in Literature and Ethics
Professor/InstructorSimon Eliud Gikandi
Courses offered under this rubric will investigate ethical questions in literature. Topics will range from a critical study of the textual forms these questions take to a historical study of an issue traditionally debated by both literature and ethics (responsibility, rhetoric, justice, violence, oppression). Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Topics in Postcolonial Literature
Professor/InstructorZahid Rafiq Chaudhary
Approaches to the connections between literature and nationality, focusing either on literatures outside the Anglo-American experience or on the theoretical issues involved in articulating nationality through literature. Two 90-minute seminars.
Elementary Swahili I
An introduction to Kiswahili language and culture. Focuses on the development of the communication skills students need to interact with Swahili speakers. Instruction emphasizes cultural themes and experiential activities that enhance the four components of speaking, writing, listening, and reading. Students will also gain some insight into the cultures of East Africa. Four classes. No credit is given for SWA 101 unless followed by SWA 102.
Elementary Swahili II
Continuation of SWA 101. Emphasis is on increasing proficiency in reading and listening comprehension, speaking, and writing. Cultural contexts of the East African societies where Swahili is spoken are incorporated in classroom activities in order to enhance communication and cultural proficiency. Prerequisite: SWA 101. Four classes.
Intermediate Swahili I
This second-year Swahili course focuses on enhancing the communicative skills acquired in the first year. Instruction emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course infuses cultural and sociopolitical aspects of life in East Africa with more complex grammatical concepts such as the subjunctive, grammar infixes, and relative clauses. Prerequisites: SWA 101 and 102, or instructor's permission. Four classes.
Intermediate Swahili II
Emphasizes conversational fluency and increased facility in reading and writing skills while introducing students to Swahili literature. This literature forms the basis for a survey of cultural issues and more advanced grammar. Students will be able to understand and analyze the main ideas and significant details of materials in Swahili such as media articles, short stories, poetry, short novels, films, and plays. Covers advanced-level Swahili grammar, as well as the development of expository writing skills. Prerequisite: SWA 105, or instructor's permission. Four classes.