English 3140, Spring 2023
This course seeks to use African literature, autobiography, memoir, film, library and on-line sources to begin to understand the complexity of contemporary Africa, the challenges facing the continent, and the many common issues Africans and Americans confront. Those common issues include the climate crisis, health care and the global pandemic, economic inequality, racism/Black Lives Matter, government corruption and challenges to democracy, educational opportunity, religious extremism, women's rights, refugees, and more. A cornerstone of this course is the idea that we can make a difference through collaboration and mutual respect.
Africa is young and growing quickly; half of the population of Africa is under 20 years old. More than 70% of the world's population growth in this century will take place in Africa. Much of our reading will be about young people, many college age, their life experiences and how they are addressing issues and creating new possibilities.
Learning about Africa often reflects back to a learning about the United States and the rest of the world. We need to challenge the stereotypes that media and popular culture present to us about Africa - for example:
And we need to learn that there is more than a single story:
As the students in this class immerse themselves in learning about Africa, they will participate in developing collaboration and making a difference in Africa and America through a Collaboration Project that will culminate during the WMU Climate Emergency Month in March.
Our class will also undertake collaborative online discussion with college students engaged in similar reading in Wales, and perhaps in Senegal.
Investigations of African literature, film, music, daily life, history, religion, news, politics, etc. will help students learn more about the the rich and diverse cultures of contemporary Africa.
Clearly, in this class students need to be informed about the world, especially Africa. Students are expected to read regularly the New York Times and other news sources, including African news sources. WMU provides a free NYT subscription. The Guardian Africa and the BBC. Africa are free. African news sources such as All Africa.com, Africa News, African News Links, African News Websites.
This course will follow WMU procedures regarding the COVID pandemic and academic honesty. Controversy and difference of opinion are vital to our understanding and welcomed.
Since the class is discussion-based, attendance and preparation are essential. Every student is expected to come to class every day having finished the reading and ready to discuss it. Missing any classes will affect your learning! Missing three classes will lower your final grade and missing five or more classes may lead to failing the course. Carefully study the discussion, preparation, participation, attendance, grading, and learning expectations for this class.
Dr. Webb's office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605, and his office hours are Mon/Wed after class, and by appointment and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan 9: Monday Introductions
Jan 11: Wednesday Google Earth, Africa Background
Jan 16: Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan 18: Wednesday Postcolonial Transition
Jan 23: Monday Postcolonial Transition Con't
Jan 25: Wednesday Postcolonial Transition Con't
1. Read: Finish Unbowed
Jan 30: Monday Climate Crisis in Africa
Feb 1: Wednesday Climate Change and Collaboration Project
Feb 3: Friday: Second Investigation Due
Feb 6: Monday Oil and the Niger Delta
Feb 8: Wednesday 1. Read: Oil on Water
1. Read: Chapters 1-8
Feb 13: Monday Oil on Water Con't
1. Read: Chapters 9-15Feb 15: Wednesday Oil on Water Con't
1. Read: Finish Oil on Water
Feb 20: Monday Collaboration Project Planning Day
Feb 22: Wednesday Collaboration Project Planning Day
Feb 27: Monday Xala and Neocolonialism
1. Read Xala
Mar 1: Wednesday Neocolonialism
View: Stealing Africa - Why Poverty? (58min English Subtitles) from Why Poverty? on Vimeo. This Community Atlas is also an interesting resource.
Mar 6-10 Spring Break
Mar 13: Monday
Collaboration Project Planning Day
Mar 15: Wednesday
South African Apartheid
1. Read: Born a Crime Part I (Chapters 1-8)
Mar 20: Monday Apartheid Transition
Read: Born a Crime Parts II & III (Chapters 9-18)
Mar 22: Wednesday Afrofuturism
1. Read: Lagoon Act I, Chapters 1-25
Mar 27: Monday Lagoon Con't
Mar 29: Wednesday Lagoon Con't
Apr 3: Monday Work Session on I-Search Paper
Apr 5: Wednesday Global Refugee Crisis
Apr 10: Monday African Refugees
1. Read: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits "The Trip" & Part I: Before
Apr 12: Wednesday African Refugees Con't
Apr 17: Monday Preparation for Final Exam and Presentation of I-Search Papers
Apr 19: Wednesday Exam and I-Search Papers Con't
Apr 24-27: Finals Week
Apr 24: Monday 10:15-12:15 Final Exam
Bring 2-3 page summary of your contribution to Collaboration Project and propose a grade.