The Road to Contemporary Africa

6 credits for 5 students.
Coordinator: Derek Maus


This learning community includes courses in history and literature to take a broad look at some of the factors that have shaped the emergence of the complex cultural, political, and social situations that exist today both on the continent of Africa and among populations that have migrated – voluntarily and involuntarily – from there. Among the issues we will examine in detail are: the rise, peak, decline, and lingering influence of European colonialism; Africa's evolving participation in international political and economic networks; regionalism and “pan- Africanism”; “tradition” vs. “modernity”; gender and generational differences; ethnic and national difference (especially the role of language[s] in defining identity); and the role of and strife among religions. To encourage participation by students from disciplines other than just history and English, all pre-requisites for these courses (other than sophomore status) are waived for students participating in the learning community.

85006 HIST 332 – Africa since 1870: 3 cr. MW 8:30-9:45 a.m. -  Freed, L.
This course explores modern African history, paying particular attention to imperialism and its impact on African societies and cultures, the rise of nationalist and independence movements, independence and the creation of nation-states, and recent and contemporary politics, economies, society, and culture. Along the way, we will analyze connections between local, regional, continental, and global events and ideologies.

85007 LITR 452 – The Contemporary Novel of Africa: 3 cr. TuTh 12:30-1:45 p.m. - Maus, D.

This course examines ten novels from the past forty years written by authors from eight different African nations – Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe – as well as writers with African backgrounds living elsewhere but writing about Africa. We will consider whether there are any
aspects of narrative, characterization, style, and subject matter that distinguish the contemporary African novel among global literature, but we will also examine these works in and of themselves as artistic representations of localized themes and conditions.