Spring 2019

Egypt & Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach

AFST 001 (TTH 11:35a-12:50p)

Instructor: John Darnell

An introduction to Egyptology, examining approximately 10,000 years of Nile Valley cultural records and 3,000 years of Egyptian history. The course presents an overview of the historical and archaeological study of Egypt and her southern neighbor Nubia.

Media and Conflict

AFST 135 (1:30p-3:20p)

Instructor: Graeme Wood

The theory and practice of reporting on international conflict and war, and its relation to political discourse in the United States and abroad. Materials include case studies of media coverage of war in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Nigeria and Its Diaspora

AFST 180/680 (TTH 1-2:15p)

Instructor: Oluseye Adesola

Nigerians in the modern diaspora, both those who endured forced migration and those who migrated voluntarily. Specific reference to the Igbos and the Yorùbás. The preservation and maintenance of Nigerian culture, history, dance, literature, traditional education, theater, politics, art, music, film, religion, and folklore, especially in African American and Nigerian American contexts.

Social Dimensions of Evolution in Africa

AFST 200 (W 1:30-3:20p)

Instructor: Veronica Waweru

This course examines symbolism, colonialism, poverty, media, literacy, and religion as agencies that distance the ‘humanity cradle’ status of Africa from nationalist and identity discourses.

Hybrid Grammars: Dynamics of Language Contact, Acquisition and Change

AFST 213/613 (TTh 1:30 -3:20p)

Instructor: Enoch Aboh

This course focuses on multiple-varieties ecologies such as creole societies in which speakers-listeners can acquire, alternate between, and sometimes ‘mix’ different languages, dialects, or registers. Two major questions are addressed in this course: How does acquisition proceed in such multiple-varieties ecologies? and What does a theory of the multilingual mind tell us about acquisition of L1 and the emergence of grammars?

Change & Mobility in Contemporary Africa

AFST 217 (TTh 1-2:15p)

Instructor: Veronica Waweru

In-depth analysis of contemporary and emerging transitions, changes, and shifts in African societies. When seen from ethnic perspectives, African issues are presented as static and predictable, however the impact of changes in public health, resource exploitation, revivalist Islamic movements, human trafficking, and the African Union have global reach.

Comparative Syntax: A View from Kwa (Niger-Congo)

AFST 281/681(TTH 4-5:15p)

Instructor: Enoch Aboh

This course adopts a micro-comparative perspective by looking at closely related languages (i.e., Gbe and Kwa families of Niger Congo) as well as a macro-comparative perspective that situates these languages in the larger context of typologically and genetically unrelated languages (e.g., Romance, Germanic).

Civil Sphere and Democracy

AFST 303 (W 1:30 -3:20p)

Instructor: Jeffrey Alexander

Examination of civil sphere theory in dialogue with normative and empirical approaches to civil society. The sacred and profane binaries that animate the civil sphere are studied, as are such civil sphere organizations as polls, mass media, electoral system, law, and office. Topics include: United States presidential elections, immigration and its controversies, the civil rights movement, the crisis of contemporary journalism, recent controversies over church pedophilia, the financial system, telephone hacking, and the challenge of de-provincializing civil sphere theory.

Social Enterprise in Developing Economies I

AFST 305 (T 1:30-3:20p)

Instructor: Robert Hopkins

Harnessing the power of markets in the fight against poverty. The use of social enterprise to foster local empowerment and establish the building blocks of regional economic development. Measuring the impact of grants and program-related investments from philanthropic organizations and for-profit corporations. Students design summer research projects. 

Introduction to Ethnomusicology

AFST 353 (MW 1-2:15p)

Instructor: Marissa Moore

A critical introduction to selected cultures of world music. Specific cultures vary from year to year but generally include those of Native America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

African Migration and Diaspora

AFST 360 ( 9:25 -11:15 am)

Instructor: Vivian Lu

This seminar examines the politics of migration to, from, and within Africa. We explore intercontinental, regional, and rural-urban migratory circuits and diasporic formations to consider mobility and immobility in relation to race, colonialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, and globalization. Drawing on sources ranging from colonial travel accounts and trade diaspora histories to black critical theory and fiction, we examine theorizations and representations both about migration and by diasporic peoples to unsettle and re-theorize imaginaries of globalization, nationalism, and the politics of belonging.

Commodities of Colonialism in Africa

AFST 368 (W 1:30 -3:20 p)

Instructor: Robert Harms & Keri Lambert

This course examines historical case studies of several significant global commodities produced in Africa to explore interactions between world market forces and African resources and societies. Through the lens of four specific commodities–ivory, rubber, cotton, and diamonds–this course evaluates diverse industries and their historical trajectories in sub-Saharan Africa within a global context from ~1870-1990s. Students become acquainted with the historical method by developing their own research paper on a commodity using both primary and secondary sources.

Foreign Assistance to Sub- Saharan Africa: Archival Dara Analysis

AFST 378/570 (TTH 2:30 – 3:45p)

Instructor: Russell Barbour

This course reviews the many years of U.S. development assistance to Africa using archival data from the Agency for International Development (USAID), nonprofit organizations, and specialized agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and nineteen U.S. government agencies involved in development assistance to Africa. Students analyze the effectiveness, perception, and shifting development paradigms of such assistance, looking at four specific areas: agriculture, water and sanitation, child survival, and refugee relief. Advanced text-mining analysis in the R package tm and web-scraping algorithms in Python are applied to both archival and current data to enhance analysis.

Government and Politics in Africa

AFST 381 (MW 11:35a-12:50p)

Instructor: Katherine Baldwin

The establishment and use of political power in selected countries of tropical Africa. The political role of ethnic and class cleavages, military coups, and the relation between politics and economic development.

Child Health and Development in Africa

AFST 382 (F 3:30 -5:20p)

Instructor: Nicholas Alipui

Examination of the most critical issues and trends in child health, child survival and development, and efforts to incorporate priorities of children and future generations after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.

North African French Poetry

AFST 425 (M9:25 -11:15p)

Instructor: Thomas Connolly

Introduction to North African poetry composed in French during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works explored within the broader context of metropolitan French, Arabic, and Berber cultures; juxtaposition with other modes of expression including oral poetry, painting, dance, music, the Internet, and film. The literary, aesthetic, political, religious, and philosophical significance of poetic discourse.

West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary

AFST 435 (TTH 10.30a-12:20p)

Instructor: Lacina Coulibaly

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.

Memoir in Africa: Life Writing and the Construction of Continent

AFST 448/558 (T3:30-5:20p)

Instructor: Meredith Shepard

From colonial diaries to activist autobiographies and child soldier memoirs, life writing has played an outsize role in constructing and exporting images of the African continent. And yet, the memoir genre remains understudied in many discussions of African literature. This seminar examines life writing by native Africans as well as settlers and visitors. Their works are grouped throughout the syllabus into five themes—colonialism, childhood, abduction, activism, and homecoming—that together probe the tensions among competing representations of a continent that is often spoken of as a country. Primary readings include life writing by David Livingstone, Isak Dinesen, Alexandra Fuller, Zoë Wicomb, Binyavanga Wainaina, Olaudah Equiano, Ishmael Beah, Juliane Okot Bitek, Nelson Mandela, Trevor Noah, Saidiya Hartman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, and Teju Cole. Secondary readings include a range of theoretical writings by early anticolonial intellectuals and contemporary scholars. In addition to traditional academic writing, students also have the opportunity to experiment with their own life writing about their encounters with Africa and/or its representations.

African Migration and Diaspora

AFST 516 (T 9:25-11:15a)

Instructor: Vivian Lu

This seminar examines the politics of migration to, from, and within Africa. We explore intercontinental, regional, and rural-urban migratory circuits and diasporic formations to consider mobility and immobility in relation to race, colonialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, and globalization. Drawing on sources ranging from colonial travel accounts and trade diaspora histories to black critical theory and fiction, we examine theorizations and representations both about migration and by diasporic peoples to unsettle and retheorize imaginaries of globalization, nationalism, and the politics of belonging.

Novel, Film and History in French Africa

AFST 800 (TTH1:30-3:20p)

Instructor: Christopher Miller

African history as represented in historiography, novels, and films. Limited to French and Francophone Africa. Themes include empire and epic; orality and literacy; the slave trade; contact, conquest, and resistance; the Congo Free State; the role of colonial intermediaries; the two world wars; decolonization and neocolonialism; and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Colonialism in Africa

AFST 840 (W 9:25 -11:15a)

Instructor: Robert Harms

Discussion of the theory and practices of colonialism in Africa. Topics include the motives for European expansion, the scramble for Africa, early colonialism, direct and indirect rule, “colonization of the mind,” the colonial state, the developmental state, late colonialism, and paths to decolonization.

Modern French Poetry in the Maghreb

AFST 885 (M 1:30 -3:20p)

Instructor: Thomas Connolly

 A survey of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry written in French by authors from North Africa, including works by Amrouche, Sénac, Khaïr-Eddine, Laâbi, Nissaboury, Djaout, Jabès, Farès, Ben Jelloun, Meddeb, Acherchour, Negrouche, Dib, and Bekri. Readings in French, discussion in English.