Fall 2021

AFST 092: African Rhythm in Motion
TTh 1pm-2:15 p.m.
This first-year seminar traces the transnational migration of the polyrhythms inherent in African dance. Based in movement practice, the course considers the transformation of rhythm through time and space, moving from traditional African dances of the 20th century into the work of contemporary African artists and far-flung hybrid dance forms such as samba and tango. Part dance history, part introduction to the art of dance, the course is open to movers of all backgrounds and physical abilities. The professor works with students who require necessary adaptations of the physical material to meet special needs. 

AFST 175: Africa in International Relations
TTh 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
This course examines key facets of how African countries interact with the rest of the world, and with other countries on the continent. Focusing mostly on Sub-Saharan African countries, it looks at international economic relations (focusing on aid but also addressing trade, investment, and debt); peacemaking and peacebuilding; and regional governance institutions.

AFST 238: Third World Studies
TTh 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.

AFST 295:Postcolonial Ecologies
MW 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m. 
This seminar examines the intersections of postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as the tensions between these conceptual nodes, with readings drawn from across the global South. Topics of discussion include colonialism, development, resource extraction, globalization, ecological degradation, nonhuman agency, and indigenous cosmologies. The course is concerned with the narrative strategies affording the illumination of environmental ideas. We begin by engaging with the questions of postcolonial and world literature and return to these throughout the semester as we read the primary texts, drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. We consider African ecologies in their complexity from colonial through post-colonial times. In the unit on the Caribbean, we take up the transformations of the landscape from slavery, through colonialism, and the contemporary era. Turning to Asian spaces, the seminar explores changes brought about by modernity and globalization as well as the effects on both humans and nonhumans. Readings include the writings of Zakes Mda, Aminatta Forna, Helon Habila, Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ishimure Michiko, and Amitav Ghosh. 

AFST 324: Nelson and Winnie Mandela
Th 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
A study of Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s marriage and public careers and the political and philosophical questions the marriage raises. Students examine the Mandelas’ conflicting ideas on race and on the colonial experience and compare them to those of Mohandas Gandhi and Franz Fanon. Students also read recent philosophical work on forgiveness and on violence in order critically to assess the politics of reconciliation that so divided the Mandelas. The course examines the politics of global celebrity and the portrayal of men and women in public media.

AFST 344: African Independence: A Cup of Plenty or a Poisoned Chalice?
MW 10:30 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
In every African colony after World War Two there emerged nationalist movements which no longer called for civil rights as in the pre-war years but demanded self-determination. While many of them got it easy, some had to fight long and bloody wars for it. By the 1960s the colonial edifice had crumbled except for the few settler colonies in southern Africa. But even here the winds of change could not be stopped. But what did decolonization and independence mean to Africa? Did Africans get what they wanted? Was independence a cup of plenty or a poisoned chalice? In addressing these questions, this course charts the economic, political, and cultural transformations of postcolonial Africa from the 1960s to the present. The argument is this: there can be no understanding of Africa’s challenges today without an inquiry into the nature of what the continent got from the departing colonial powers. 

AFST 385/585: Pandemics in Africa: From the Spanish Influenza to Covid-19
W 1:30-3:20pm
The overarching aim of the course is to understand the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic in Africa in the context of a century of pandemics, their political and administrative management, the responses of ordinary people, and the lasting changes they wrought. The first eight meetings examine some of the best social science-literature on 20th-century African pandemics before Covid-19. From the Spanish Influenza to cholera to AIDS, to the misdiagnosis of yaws as syphilis, and tuberculosis as hereditary, the social-science literature can be assembled to ask a host of vital questions in political theory: on the limits of coercion, on the connection between political power and scientific expertise, between pandemic disease and political legitimacy, and pervasively, across all modern African epidemics, between infection and the politics of race. The remaining four meetings look at Covid-19. We chronicle the evolving responses of policymakers, scholars, religious leaders, opposition figures, and, to the extent that we can, ordinary people. The idea is to assemble sufficient information to facilitate a real-time study of thinking and deciding in times of radical uncertainty and to examine, too, the consequences of decisions on the course of events. There are of course so many moving parts: health systems, international political economy, finance, policing, and more. We also bring guests into the classroom, among them frontline actors in the current pandemic as well as veterans of previous pandemics well placed to share provisional comparative thinking. This last dimension is especially emphasized: the current period, studied in the light of a century of epidemic disease, affording us the opportunity to see path dependencies and novelties, the old and the new.

AFST 435: West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary
TTh 10:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
A practical and theoretical study of the traditional dances of Africa, focusing on those of Burkina Faso and their contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on rhythm, kinesthetic form, and gestural expression. The fusion of modern European dance and traditional African dance.

AFST 443: Decolonizing Memory : Africa & the Politics of Testimony
M 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
This seminar explores the politics and poetics of memory in a time of unfinished decolonization. It also provides students with a working introduction to anticolonial, postcolonial, and decolonial critique. Together we bring key works on the topics of state violence, trauma, and testimony into contact with literary works and films by artists of the former French and British empires in Africa. Reading literary and theoretical works together permits us to investigate archival silences and begin to chart a future for the critical study of colonial violence and its enduring effects. Literary readings may include works by Djebar, Rahmani, Ouologuem, Sebbar, Diop, Head, Krog. Films by Djebar, Leuvrey, Sembène, and Sissako. Theoretical readings may include works by Arendt, Azoulay, Césaire, Derrida, Fanon, Mbembe, Ngũgĩ, Spivak, and Trouillot.

AFST 481: Medicine and Race in the Slave Trade
T 9:25 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Examination of the interconnected histories of medicine and race in the slave trade. Topics include the medical geography of the slave trade from slave prisons in West Africa to slave ships; slave trade drugs and forced drug consumption; mental and physical illnesses and their treatments; gender and the body; British and West African medicine and medical knowledge in the slave trade; eighteenth-century theories of racial difference and disease; medical violence and medical ethics.

AFST 505: Gateway to Africa
Th 3:30 p.m.-5:20 p.m.
This multidisciplinary seminar highlights the study of contemporary Africa through diverse academic disciplines. Each session features a Yale faculty scholar or guest speaker who shares their unique disciplinary perspective and methodological approach to studying Africa. Topics include themes drawn from the humanities, social sciences, and public health, with faculty representing expertise from across Yale’s graduate and professional school departments. The course is intended to introduce graduate students and upper-level undergraduates to the breadth and depth of Yale scholarship on Africa, facilitating the identification of future topics and mentors for thesis or senior paper research. Each weekly seminar focuses on a specific topic or region, and students are exposed to various research methods and techniques in archival research, data collection, and analysis. A specific goal of the course is to impart students with knowledge of how research across diverse disciplines is carried out, as well as to demonstrate innovative methodology, fieldwork procedures, presentation of results, and ethical issues in human subjects research.

AFST 568: Tackling the Big Three: Malaria, TB, and HIV in Resource-Limited Settings
T 10 a.m.-11:50 a.m.
Malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV account for more than five million deaths worldwide each year. This course provides a deep foundation for understanding these pathogens and explores the public health issues that surround these infectious diseases in resource-limited settings. Emphasis is placed on issues in Africa, but contrasts for each disease are provided in the broader developing world. The course is divided into three sections, each focusing in depth on the individual infectious disease as well as discussions of interactions among the three diseases. The sections consist of three to four lectures each on the biology, individual consequences, and community/public health impact of each infectious disease. Discussion of ongoing, field-based research projects involving the diseases is led by relevant faculty (research into practice). The course culminates with a critical discussion of major public health programmatic efforts to tackle these diseases, such as those of PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, and the Stop TB Partnership.

AFST 590: African Studies Colloquium
W 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
Students conduct research for the master’s thesis, give presentations on their research, and prepare a bibliography, a prospectus, and a draft chapter of the master’s thesis. Discussion of model essays and other examples of writing.

AFST 836: Histories of Postcolonial Africa: Themes, Genres, and the Phantoms of the Archive
T 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
This course is both historiographic and methodological. It is meant as an introduction to the major themes that have dominated the study of postcolonial Africa in recent years, and the material circumstances in which they were produced. We pay close attention to the kinds of sources and archives that scholars have employed in their works, and how they addressed the challenges of writing contemporary histories in Africa. We center our weekly meetings around one key text and one or two supplementary readings. We engage with works on politics, violence, environment and technology, women and gender, affect, fashion, leisure, and popular culture.

AFST 839: Environmental History of Africa
W 9:25 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
An examination of the interaction between people and their environment in Africa and the ways in which this interaction has affected or shaped the course of African history.

GLBL 218: Security in North Africa and the Middle East
W 3:30 p.m.-5:20 p.m.
This course explores the debates about regional security in North Africa and the Middle East, mainly from a critical security perspective. Traditional and non-traditional security challenges are discussed throughout the semester. The state is presented as much a subject of security as a subject of insecurity for individuals and groups of people. This is to say that security here is not state-centered. North Africa and the Middle East are mostly dealt with separately, with very few exceptions.

GLBL 222: Research Design and Quantitative Analysis with a Focus on Africa
TTh 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
Learn about the application of advanced quantitative research methods through research on African politics and development topics. Students develop their proficiency to critically engage social science research while also learning how to implement these techniques. The class begins with a discussion of research in developing contexts, including discussions of data availability and using research to support policy-making, followed by an overview of causal inference. Next, students are introduced to several prominent research design techniques including time series analysis, regression discontinuity design, difference-in-difference methods, instrumental variables analysis and various experimental designs. Each week students discuss papers using these methods on topics related to ethnic favoritism and clientelism, conflict and economic growth, rural/ urban politics and voter turnout in the African context. Students learn to implement some of these analyses using R statistical software and data from African sources such as Afrobarometer and Statistics South Africa.

HIST 311J: Social Movements in the Modern Middle East and North Africa
Th 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
How have social movements and grassroots networks shaped politics, culture, and day-to-day realities in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? This seminar addresses such driving questions by way of readings and discussion on a range of movements and ideological currents in the MENA region from the late nineteenth century to present, including labor, socialism, feminism, Islamism, Third Worldism, and nationalism in its various forms. Moving between local, national, regional, and global perspectives, we explore the social and political contexts in which these movements developed; the various ways in which they negotiated structures of power; and their impact on culture, sociality, and politics.

HIST 388J: Slavery and the Slave Trade in Africa
W 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
The slave trade from the African perspective. Analysis of why slavery developed in Africa and how it operated. The long-term social, political, and economic effects of the Atlantic slave trade.

LATN 413: Rome’s Africa, Africa’s Rome
TTh 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
This class is an experiment in literary history. Covering more than seven hundred years, this course surveys the history of Latin literature by focusing on literary production from and about North Africa. Together, we explore two overarching questions: “What is the place of Roman Africa, former territory of the Carthaginian enemy, in the Roman literary imagination?”, and “What is the place of Rome in the Roman North African literary imagination?”. In doing so, we navigate the terrain of Roman and Latin literature from its beginnings through Late Antiquity, examining how Romans “wrote” into being the province of Africa and how writers from Roman North Africa “wrote back.” Authors explored in this course (in Latin): Plautus, Sallust, Silius Italicus, Apuleius, Augustine, and Corippus. Authors explored in translation include: Livy, Vergil, Lucan, Tertullian, Lactantius, and Claudian.

HIST 392J: Pan-Africanism, Anti-Colonialism and Colonial Modernity
T 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
A history of Pan-Africanism and Anti-Colonial thought from the Haitian Revolution until the apex of the global struggle against apartheid and white supremacy in South Africa, focusing on intellectual and cultural history from across the African diaspora and Atlantic world.

GLBL 721: Resolving Africa’s Economic Philosophy Dilemma: Pathway to Inclusive Economic Growth and Prosperity
Th 1:30 p.m.-3:20p.m.
What is the clear economic philosophy of countries in Africa, and could it be that the absence of one is the biggest constraint to achieving economic diversification and sustained growth that will lift citizens out of poverty? Strong factual and empirical evidence abounds on the superior performance of countries that embraced the market economy system and produced higher levels of growth and that have lifted more people than Africa’s one billion population out of poverty. However, the suspicion of “western economic models” explains why many countries on the continent are tentative or half-hearted, or outright reject capitalism as an efficient philosophy to allocate scarce resources. Political and policy leaders in Africa often look to China and India as worthy models of “owned economic vision” but often miss the role that market economy philosophy has played in the trajectory of their performance from about the end of the twentieth century to the present. Students who are interested in public policy and in private sector and international development gain insight on how ideological vestiges that followed from the effects of the colonial and Cold War eras infected the political economy of Africa and convinced most of Africa’s public leadership to be wary of capitalist philosophy and principles on which economic policies are framed, adopted, and executed across Africa. Students analytically engage the structure of the GDP of the entire continent and a few sample countries, as well as the composition and quality of growth from key economic indicators, and simulate possibilities in a market economy model. The exercise is designed to help the class appreciate the role that evidence-informed policy making may hold as the key to positioning a more inclusive type of capitalism that addresses inequalities in Africa.

GLBL 794: Ports, Cities, and Empires
T 1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.
A study of the relationship between imperialism and urbanism from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Topics include Roman medieval precedents; the uses and meanings of walls; merchant colonies and Latin Quarters; modernist urban planning and the International Style in Africa and the Middle East; comparative metro system in Paris, Algiers, and Montreal; decolonization and imperial nostalgia. Cities to be discussed include Delhi/New Delhi, New Orleans, Dublin, Cape Town, Tel Aviv, Addis Ababa, and many others.

HSAR 326: History of Architecture to 1750
TTh 10:30 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
Introduction to the history of architecture from antiquity to the dawn of the Enlightenment, focusing on narratives that continue to inform the present. The course begins in Africa and Mesopotamia, follows routes from the Mediterranean into Asia and back to Rome, Byzantium, and the Middle East, and then circulates back to mediaeval Europe, before juxtaposing the indigenous structures of Africa and America with the increasingly global fabrications of the Renaissance and Baroque. Emphasis on challenging preconceptions, developing visual intelligence, and learning to read architecture as a story that can both register and transcend place and time, embodying ideas within material structures that survive across the centuries in often unexpected ways.

HSHM 761: Medicine and Empire
T 9:25 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
A reading course that explores medicine in the context of early modern empires with a focus on Africa, India, and the Americas. Topics include race, gender, and the body; medicine and the environment; itineraries of scientific knowledge; enslaved, indigenous, and creole medical and botanical knowledge and practice; colonial contests over medical authority and power; indigenous and enslaved epistemologies of the natural world; medicine and religion.

MUSI 478/ 578: African Counterpoint
Th 3:30 p.m.-5:20 p.m.
This course explores the various compositional techniques used in traditional and contemporary music across sub-Saharan Africa and the African diaspora, with an emphasis on the qualities of counterpoint, groove, polyrhythm, and texture. Seminar meetings are devoted to discussion of assigned readings, analysis of assigned listenings, student presentations, and, when possible, performance of assigned transcriptions. In the introductory unit, we examine the idea of “counterpoint” critically and cross-culturally in order to provide cultural, historical, and political context to the various sonic practices examined during the term.


SWAH 110/610: Beginning Kiswahili I

MTWThF 9:25 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
A beginning course with intensive training and practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Initial emphasis is on the spoken language and conversation.

SWAH 130/630: Intermediate Kiswahili I
MTWThF 11:35 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
Further development of students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Prepares students for further work in literary, language, and cultural studies as well as for a functional use of Kiswahili. Study of structure and vocabulary is based on a variety of texts from traditional and popular culture. Emphasis on command of idiomatic usage and stylistic nuance.

SWAH 150/650: Advanced Kiswahili I
MW 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Development of fluency through readings and discussions on contemporary issues in Kiswahili. Introduction to literary criticism in Kiswahili. Materials include Kiswahili oral literature, prose, poetry, and plays, as well as texts drawn from popular and political culture.

SWAH 170/670: Topics in Kiswahili Literature
TTh 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Advanced readings and discussion with emphasis on literary and historical texts. Reading assignments include materials on Kiswahili poetry, Kiswahili dialects, and the history of the language.

TWI 110: Beginning Twi I
MTWTh 12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m.
This course is an introduction to the basic structure of Twi and the culture of the Akan-Twi-speaking people. Students are introduced to basic grammar and communicative skills and develop familiarity with cultural activities, through role play, conversations, dialogues, and songs. Students acquire basic grammar competence and are able to use appropriate expressions for everyday situations with an understanding and appreciation of the culture of the Akan people in Ghana, West Africa. In addition to Asante Twi, students are exposed to Akuapem Twi and Fante.

TWI 130: Intermediate Twi Language Course I
MTWTh 9 a.m.-9:50 a.m.
A continuation of TWI 120, building on basic Twi structures acquired in TWI 110 and TWI 120. Students continue to build vocabulary and focus on communicative skills and cultural awareness through short readings and dialogues. By the end of the course, learners are expected to reach proficiency level ranging between Intermediate Low and Intermediate Mid. In addition to Asante Twi, students are exposed to Akuapem Twi and Fante.

WLOF 110: Elementary Wolof I
MTWTh 12:10 p.m.-1 p.m.
Introduction to the basic sentence structure and other fundamentals of the Wolof language, with attention to the development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Exercises based on major cultural aspects of traditional and modern Senegalese society.

WLOF 130: Intermediate Wolof I
MW 2:10 p.m.-4 p.m.
This course will further your awareness and understanding of the Wolof language and culture, as well as improve your mastery of grammar, writing skills, and oral skills. Course materials will incorporate various types of text including tales, cartoons, as well as multimedia such as films, videos, and audio recordings.

WLOF 150: Advanced Wolof
TTh 2:10 p.m.-4 p.m.
This course furthers awareness and understanding of the Wolof language and culture, and improves mastery of grammar, writing skills, and oral expression. Course materials incorporate various types of text including tales, poetry, literature, as well as multimedia such as films, and videos, television and radio programs. The course broadens your understanding of the Senegambian region and its role as the lingua franca across the religious, economic, political, and social spheres of the societies of the countries and places where it is spoken.

YORU 110/610: Beginning Yorùbá I
MTWThF 10:30 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
Training and practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Initial emphasis is on the spoken aspect, with special attention to unfamiliar consonantal sounds, nasal vowels, and tone, using isolated phrases, set conversational pieces, and simple dialogues. Multimedia materials provide audio practice and cultural information.

YORU 130/630: Intermediate Yorùbá I
MTWThF 11:35 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
Refinement of students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. More natural texts are provided to prepare students for work in literary, language, and cultural studies as well as for a functional use of Yorùbá.

YORU 150/650 Advanced Yorùbá I
MW 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
An advanced course intended to improve students’ aural and reading comprehension as well as speaking and writing skills. Emphasis on acquiring a command of idiomatic usage and stylistic nuance. Study materials include literary and nonliterary texts; social, political, and popular entertainment media such as movies and recorded poems (ewì); and music.

YORU 170/670: Topics in Yorùbá Literature and Culture
TTh 1 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
Advanced readings and discussion concerning Yorùbá literature and culture. Focus on Yorùbá history, poetry, novels, dramas, and oral folklore. It also seeks to uncover the basics of the Yorùbá culture in communities where Yorùbá is spoken across the globe, with particular emphasis on Nigeria. It examines movies, texts, and written literature to gain insight into the Yorùbá philosophy and ways of life.

ZULU 110/610: Beginning isiZulu I
MTWThF 11:35 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
A beginning course in conversational isiZulu, using Web-based materials filmed in South Africa. Emphasis on the sounds of the language, including clicks and tonal variation, and on the words and structures needed for initial social interaction. Brief dialogues concern everyday activities; aspects of contemporary Zulu culture are introduced through readings and documentaries in English.

ZULU 130/630: Intermediate isiZulu I
MTWThF 9:25 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
Development of fluency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, using Web-based materials filmed in South Africa. Students describe and narrate spoken and written paragraphs. Review of morphology; concentration on tense and aspect. Materials are drawn from contemporary popular culture, folklore, and mass media.

ZULU 150 : Advanced isiZulu I
MW 4 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
Development of fluency in using idioms, speaking about abstract concepts, and voicing preferences and opinions. Excerpts from oral genres, short stories, and television dramas. Introduction to other South African languages and to issues of standardization, dialect, and language attitude.