Courses in African Studies

FR 016 My (Hi)Story, Myself: (Post)Colonial Perspectives in Film

In this course we will analyze the impact of French colonization on the peoples of Africa and North Africa during the colonial and the post-colonial eras through films made by French, "Beur", North African, and African filmmakers. We will discuss the different ways in which colonization is denounced, colonial and post-colonial subjects are represented, and identities are (re)constructed. Specific issues may include: the colonizer vs. the colonized; images of war; memory vs. reality; past vs. present; tradition versus modernity; males vs. females.Taught in French. ( FR 205).
OTH (Ms. Crouzières)


FR 392 Denunciation and Literature: the Awakening of the Maghreb

This course will focus on main works wrtten by Maghrebian writers from Algeria, Morocco, and France. We will analyze the ways in which these authors denounce and even attack the fundamental valuesof Arabo-Muslim societies by criticizing their fathers from familial, political, religious, and spiritual points of view.We will place the various denounciation processes and the different literary mechanisms in a historical, colonial, and post-colonial context.
(Ms. Crouzières)


FR/WG 395 Women's Voices from the Francophone World

This course will study women’s discourse in novels and short stories from the Francophone world: North-Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and Québec. We will examine the emergence of a literary corpus by Francophone writers outside Europe and their writing processes. We will consider the ways in which gender is constructed and presented in analyzed texts. Specific issues that will be addressed include: marriage, family, polygamy, love, confinement, education, politics, social class, and identity.
(Ms. Crouzières)


FR 396 (Re)Constructing Identities: Francophone Colonial and Postcolonial Fiction

This course will focus on major works written in French by writers from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean. We will explore the complex (re)construction of identities through fiction writing as it evolves from traditional folktale to political criticism, and as it shifts from colonial alienation to post-colonial disillusionment. We will also examine the emergence of cultural blending or "métissage". (FR 220 or FR 221)
OTH (Ms. Crouzières)


HI 0xx Proposed January-term course
(Mr. Tropp)


HI 225History of Africa to 1800

This course offers an introductory survey of African history from earliest times to 1800.Through lectures, discussions, readings, and films, we will explore Africa's complex and diverse pre-colonial past.Themes examined in the course include the development of long-distance trade networks, linkages between ecological change and social dynamics, the formation of large pre-colonial states, and the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on social and economic relations within Africa.A broader concern in the course is how we have come to understand the meaning of "Africa" itself and what is at stake in interpreting Africa's pre-colonial history. 
(Mr. Tropp)


HI 226 Modern Africa

We begin looking at revolutions in the early 19th century and the transformations surrounding the slave trade. Next we examine the European colonization of the continent, exploring how diverse interventions into Africans' lives had complex effects on political authority, class and generational dynamics, gender relations, ethnic and cultural identities, and rural and urban livelihoods. After exploring Africans' struggles against colonial rule in day-to-day practices and mass political movements, the last few weeks cover Africa's transition to independence and the post-colonial era, including the experience of neo-colonialism, ethnic conflict, poverty, and demographic crisis.
HIS SOC OTH (Mr. Tropp)


HI 420 Women and Gender in African History

This course will look at the challenges of understanding women's experiences and the role of gender in Africa's past.As the course explores theoretical, methodological, and intrepretive dimensions of these subjects, we will read from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives and literary forms, including ethnographies, life histories, and fiction.Some of the themes to be covered are changes in patriarchy and women's status in the pre-colonial period, the gendered impact of colonial rule on local African economies and ecologies, historical identities of masculinity and femininity, post-colonial "development" and its gendered experience, and the complexities of utlizing oral and written historical sources.Prior experience in African history is not required. 
(Mr. Tropp)


HI 419 Readings in African History

This seminar will explore the history of human-environmental interaction on the African continent. The course examines how scholars have begun unraveling dominant historical understandings of African landscapes, cultures, and precolonial ecologies. A major portion of the course looks at how colonial relations shaped conflicts over environmental control and ecological change and the legacies of such dynamics in the postcolonial era. Readings on gender relations, urban environmental change, and the evolution of development thinking will be the focus of class discussions on new ways of interpreting African social and environmental change.
(Mr. Tropp)


HI 456 Writing and Research: African History

This seminar is designed to serve the needs of students interested in pursuing research topics that deal with Africa.The course emphasizes methodological strategies, the interpretation of source materials, historiographical trends, and research and writing techniques.After consulting with the instructor, students will write and submit a research paper on a topic of their choice concerning the African past.
(Mr. Tropp)


MU 238 Music and Performance in Africa

This course will introduce students to the diverse musical traditions of sub-Saharan Africa. Using recent literature in ethnomusicology, we will study examples of musical performance in specific cultural groups, including the Zulu, Shona, Venda, BaAka, Mande, and Yoruba. We will explore the diversity in performance practice, style and aesthetics, and examine issues that affect rural and urban residents today, such as the role and status of musicians in society, and the impact of nationalism on local music. Sources for information will include ethnographic literature, audio and video recordings, visiting performers, and performance workshops.
ART SOC OTH (Ms. Post)


RE 049 Egypt:

The Search for Identity Egypt, the first country to embark on modernization in the Middle East, continues to exert a huge cultural influence on the Arabic and Islamic worlds.Studying the cultural and religious developments in Egypt will thus greatly enhance our understanding of the debates in Arabo-Islamic countries.After a brief survey of Egyptian political history, the course will concentrate on the intellectual and religious debates that have raged among prominent Egyptian thinkers.Topics to be covered include: the liberal movement, nationalism and colonization, reform ulama, the Society of Muslim Brothers, radical Muslim movements, and development and democratization.
PHL OTH(Mr. Saleh)


SA 0xx (January term 2002)Introduction to Swahili
(Mr. Sheridan)


SA 332 Peoples and Cultures of Africa
A comparative introduction to contemporary Africa from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective. Through case studies, we will consider practices of the body and self in which judgment is founded and through which social relations are experienced and understood. We will examine how these shape and express changing systems of exchange and forms of community and society. We will situate voices at the center of social life, studying oral performance, music and dance, and the printed or digitized word as cultural commentary. Finally, we will explore emergent domains of politics, studying local and geopolitical dimensions of social movements in contexts of ethnic fluidity and diversity, transnational migration, ecological stress, violence, and reconciliation.
(Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Eaton)


SA & IS/ES xxxAfrica: environment and society
(proposed for fall 2002)

How do African societies create, define, and resolve environmental problems?How do contrasting imaginations of the natural world, varying modes of production and governance, and diverse sciences combine to shape African environmental issues at local, national, and international levels?To answer these questions, case studies in this course will consider social histories of environmental practice, changing ecological dimensions of health and affliction, stakes and dilemmas of conservation, and a range of struggles over natural resources.By situating these in long-term trends in transformations of African environments, we will identify problems of natural orders which are emerging as vital to sustainable communities in the first decades of the twenty-first century
(Mr. Eaton)


Other related courses

EC 031The Economics of War and Famine (J term)

This course will focus on the strategies for generating and sustaining economic development in developing countries in the context of two major crises: wars and famines. The first part of the course will focus on an economic analysis of famines. We will examine economic explanations for famine, theories on the prevention of famine, and strategies for famine recovery.The second part of the course will focus on the unique challenges associated with achieving economic recovery in societies emerging from military conflict. We will examine the economic distortions caused by war and the emerging body of literature on the challenges of reconstruction and economic reform in post-conflict societies.
(Mr. Kelly)
A significant proportion of course materials refer to African societies.


EC xxx Environment and Development

This course will examine the relationship between economic development and the environment in developing countries.The course will use rigorous economic and environmental analysis, as well as insights from political science and anthropology, to examine a number of the key environmental issues which confront policy makers in the regions.Topics to be covered include: sustainability, biodiversity loss, trade and the environment, population and the environment, poverty and the environment, and deforestation.: normal'>Course materials to focus on Africa and Latin America.  
(Mr. Kelly)


EC 465 Special Topics in Environmental Economics

This seminar explores in detail selected topics that involve critical environmental and economic decision-making. Methods of environmental economics and environmental valuation are examined in order to facilitate this in-depth study. The current course looks at three topics that lie at the center of current environmental policy debates, including global warming, trade and the environment, and sustainable development. Each topic is considered from a theoretical and policy perspective and from the standpoint of both developing and developed countries. Within each topic area, the role that economics can play in informing and designing environmental policy is investigated. (EC 255) (Mr. Isham)
Includes significant course materials on questions of trade, environment, and commons management and governance in African societies.Open possibilities for student focus and research on African issues.Professor Isham served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin before his recent work with the World Bank and doctoral research on social capital and development in Tanzania.


GG 210 Geography of Development

The focus of this course is Third World development. We will examine why there has been a need for "development;" what is the relationship of "development" to "underdevelopment;" and whether this relationship has resulted in dependence, independence, or interdependence. We will focus on the contribution of development to progress of the LDCs, on the one hand, and to its stagnation, on the other. We will examine specific issues like food, population, the environment, the rural scene, the urban scene, and the general political and economic scenes. We will question the underlying assumptions of development, examine the role and the possibilities of development from within, and maintain a critical view of Westerndevelopment.
SOC OTH (Tamar Mayer)
Many of the readings for this course address Africa specifically. There is also a research paper the topic of which student's are free to choose for themselves.


GG 410 Seminar in Geography of Development:Women in Development

This course includes significant African materials.


HI 105 The Atlantic World: 1492-1900

Linking the Americas with Europe and Africa, the Atlantic has been a major conduit for the movement of peoples, goods, diseases, and cultures. This course will explore specific examples of transatlantic interchange, from imperialism and the slave trade to religious movements, consumerism and the rise of national consciousness. It will adopt a broad comparative perspective, ranging across regional, national, and ethnic boundaries. We will consider the varied experiences of Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans as they struggled to establish their own identities within a rapidly changing Atlantic world.
HIS SOC OTH(Mr. Monod, Mr. Davis)


HI222Historical Approaches to Environmental Studies(working title)

A core course for Environmental Studies students which will rely heavily on materials from Africa, as well as from Asia and the Americas.To be taught every other year. 
(Mr. Tropp)


HI 371 African American History* spring 2001 *

This course will explore the history of the African American people from the slave trade to the present. It will examine the process of enslavement, the nature of American slavery, the meaning of emancipation, the response to the rise of legalized segregation, and the modern struggle for equality. Special attention will be given to placing the African American story within the context of the developing American nation, its institutions, and its culture.
HIS USA (Mr. Hart)


MU 066 The History of The American Negro Spiritual and Its Influence On Western Civilization (J term)

This course will survey in broad terms the gathering of indigenous African peoples from numerous tribes and countries for the New World 'Slave trade' and its impact on the burgeoning economies. We will discuss the role of religion and music in controlling and focusing the slave population in the agrarian economy. Influences, changes and trends will be discussed and compared to modern technologies. The role of universities and churches will be discussed. (Specifically the Fisk Jubilee Singers and other university choirs.) Further development will center on how gospel music came out of this tradition and how the two are inter-involved in today's church. The lives of abolitionists and their legacy will be reviewed. Singers and non-singer will be welcome. During the month of January, participants will be encouraged to attend the regular Tuesday and Thursday evening chorus rehearsals to put our classroom theory into practice.
ART USA (Mr. Clemmons)


MU 105Introduction to World Music

This is an introductory ethnomusicology course designed to introduce you to music in selected world cultures. We will focus on the role that music plays in the lives of musicians and their supporting communities in four geographic regions: South Asia, Africa (and the African diaspora), Australia, and New England. You will also have opportunities to explore music of other cultures through class assignments. To gain the broadest possible view of how and why people make music in each culture, our sources will include readings, audio and video recordings, web resources, in-class performances, concerts, and fieldwork. (Open to first-year students and sophomores.)
ART SOC OTH (Ms. Post)
Includes four weeks of study of west, central and southern Africa and the African diaspora.


MU 280Music, Gender and Performance

This course will devote a large portion of the curriculum (more than half the class) to gender issues and representation ofwomen and men in the music of African Americans (specifically with focus on the blues and hip hop), West Africa (especially Mali), and North Africa (Algeria and possibly Egypt).
(Ms. Post)


MU 282 Songs and Social Movements

This course focuses for at least two weeks on the civil rights movement, two weeks on apartheid in South Africa and a week on the liberation movement in Zimbabwe. 
(Ms. Post)


PS 103 Introduction to Comparative Politics

An introduction to the comparative study of political systems and to the logic of comparative inquiry. How are different political systems created and organized? How do they change? Why are some democratic and others authoritarian? Why are some rich and others poor? Other topics covered in this course include nationalism and political ideologies, forms of representation, the relationship between state institutions and civil society, and development strategies. In this course students will also learn how to describe, classify, compare, and evaluate governments using modern library and computer-based research methods. 
SOC (Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Bleich)


PS 230Comparative Development Strategies

Why have some countries developed more rapidly than others?What do we mean by "development"?How can government help or hinder development prospects?These broad questions are addressed by analyzing the development experiences of Asian, Latin American, and African countries.The course focuses particularly on what governments have done to try to accelerate the development process.To gain a historical perspective, the course begins with a brief consideration of the experiences of the now 'developed' countries, followed by an examination of how different countries have confronted the dilemmas of development of the 20th century.
SOC OTH (Mr. Cason)


RE 150 The Islamic Tradition

A historical and thematic introduction to the Islamic tradition and the worldwide Muslim community. Stressing sources, doctrines, practices, institutions, and modes of expression, topics will include: the life and times of Prophet Muhammad; the Qur'an, Islam's scripture; the division between the two major sects, Sunni and Shi'a; the formation of the traditions of Hadith and Shariah; Sunni schools of law and theology; diversity in Islamic faith and practice; and Islam in the West.
PHL OTH (Mr. Saleh)


RE/WG 259 Women in Islam

This course offers a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective on the lives of women in Muslim countries. It starts with an examination of the status and rights of women in the classical tradition: the Qur'an, prophetic tradition, literature, and the Shari'ah. The course then traces the history of the modern feminist movement in Muslim countries and the current debate on women's rights in Islam. The issues covered include: sex segregation and veiling, education and work, legal reforms and their (in)effectiveness, and fundamentalism and the rise of Islamic feminism. The material for discussion includes novels, films, and documentaries.
PHL OTH (Mr. Saleh)


SA 355 Race and Ethnicity

Ethnicity and race are social phenomena that influence group relations, as well as personal identity in many areas of the world. But what is "ethnicity" and what is "race"? This course introduces students to the varied approaches that have been utilized to understand racial and ethnic phenomena. No single approach to ethnicity is all-inclusive, for ethnic phenomena are multifaceted. We will explore several approaches in this course, including analyses of conflict and competition between groups; examinations of the connections among ethnicity, gender, and class; and considerations of the relationships between personal identity and ethnic role. 
SOC (Mr. Levy)


SA 360 Development and Globalization: 1944-1998

This course analyzes the rise of the "development" and "globalization" projects in the post-war era. In the 1950s, "development" emerged as a code-word for building modern industrial societies and states in the former western colonies of the "Third World" and in the former agrarian empires of Russia and Asia. Since the 1980s, however, the project of developing the new states along national lines has been largely abandoned in favor of the project of "globalization," which aims to create an administrative, legal and political framework for further integrating and managing the world-system as a single economic entity. We will examine this shift by comparing processes of social change in several regions of the non-Western world, including East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the former Soviet Union. Particular attention will be paid to how changes in the "Western core" of the world system have interacted with regional processes of social change, such as the decline and collapse of Soviet socialism, to shape the emergence of the globalization project. We will conclude with a critical survey of the many social, economic, political and ecological problems plaguing the globalization project on the eve of the twenty-first century.3 hrs. lect./disc. (SA 105 or SA 103 or any Economics course of any Geography course; GG 210 recommended.) Limited places available for students to satisfy the College writing requirement.
(Mr. Garcelon)


Last updated 05/28/01


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