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2011
Students 4 Africa:
Website; Video

2013
Students 4 Africa:
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English 3140, Fall 2014

African Literature


Today there are 1 billion people living in Africa, speaking perhaps 2000 languages. The continent comprises 20% of the land of the planet, is enormously rich in resources and talent yet much of Africa is desperately poor with vast populations attempting to live on less than $2 per day.

This course seeks to use African literature, memoir, film, autobiography, history, library and on-line sources to begin to understand the enormous complexity of Africa and the challenges and opportunities for the continent. A cornerstone of this course is the idea that knowledge creates responsibility.

africa

We begin our study of the current crisis in Africa by looking at the colonial and early national period. Turning to literature from the present we will encounter issues such as economic and political corruption and collapse, resource exploitation, poverty, education, the condition of women, urbanization, emerging economies, the environment, warfare and child soldiers, diseases, immigration, etc.

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. Most of our reading will be about young people, many college age, their life experiences and how they are addressing issues.

Learning about Africa often reflects back to a learning about the United States and the rest of the world. A clear goal is 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 making a difference in Africa via the Solutions Project. During our reading and study, students will focus on specific issues to engage in additional reading, research, action, and work with African and international organizations dedicated to a brighter future for the continent. This may be undertaken in collaboration with the new WMU registered student organization (RSO) created by students in African Literature last year, Students 4 Africa.

We will engage in reading and discussion, in a threaded on-line computer conference at Nicenet. Our threaded discusion connects reading and research and creates a collaborative, interactive community of learning. Our class will meet in an advanced laptop computer lab that I designed and that will facilitate technology enhanced learning.

Investigations of African life, history, religion, news, politics, etc. will help students learn more not only about the crisis in Africa but its rich and diverse cultures.

This course fulfills a General Education requirement for Distribution Area IV: Other Cultures and Civilizations. This course will follow WMU procedures regarding academic honesty. Controversy and difference of opinion are welcomed.

Since the class is discussion-based, attendance and preparation are essential. Missing any classes will affect your learning -- attending all class meetings will raise your grade! Missing three classes will lower your final grade and missing five or more classes may lead to failing the course. See my philosophy regarding preparation, attendance, and participation.

Dr. Webb's office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605, and his office hours are Tues/Thurs after class, and by appointment and email at allen.webb@wmich.edu. (Feeling stress? English 3140 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza.)

Reading

 

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Wangari Maathai, Unbowed
Sembene Ousmane, Xala
Kris Holloway, Monique and the Mango Rains
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone
Yusuf al-Quayd, War in the Land of Egypt
Laila Lalami, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Major Assignments

Class Participation Computer Conference 10%
Investigations 10%
Things Fall Apart Essay 20%
I-Search Paper 20%
Final Exam 20%
Solutions Project 20%

Electronic Syllabus

Sep 2 Tuesday Introductions

Join Computer Conference, respond to item "Introductions." Course: "2014 African Literature" key: E359980268

Africa: Brief Background (powerpoint - Lecture available in E-Learning)


Sep 4 Thursday day Google Earth, Africa

1. Study the syllabus and bring questions to class.

2. Spend (at least) an hour on Google Earth learning everything you can about Africa.

3. Write a post on our Computer Conference and, as always, respond to at least three classmates.

Sep 9 Tuesday Things Fall Apart

1) Read Things Fall Apart Part I (Chapters 1-13). You can refer to the Character List to keep characters straight.Additional Resources: Things Fall Apart read aloud; background on Achebe, Igbo Art, Achebe in the Postcolonial Web, Postcolonial Dialogues.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and respond to at least three classmates. Exceed expectations!

Sep 11 Thursday

1) Finish Things Fall Apart.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and respond to at least three classmates.

masked native

Sep 16 Tuesday

1) Post ideas for your essay on our computer conference, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

2) Bring Rough Draft Things Fall Apart Essay to class.

Sep 18 Thursday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

1) Email class about your first Investigation (use "Reply All").

Sep 23 Tuesday

1) Things Fall Apart Essay DUE

2) Africa Map Test and Answers (Study for the map test at liketolearn.)

Sep 25 Thursday How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

1) Read: from How Europe Underdeveloped Africa Chapters 1-6 by Walter Rodney

Study Questions for How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Take Quiz on E-Learning ("open book," unlike all other quizzes)

Resources: European Slave Trade Map, European Colonialism of Africa Map, Berlin Conference, Chinese Investment

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

3) Watch clips on history of colonialism in Africa. 

Africa: Brief Background (powerpoint, full lecture in E-Learning) Continued

Sept 30 Tuesday

1) Read selections from King Leopold's Ghost Chapters 8-10, 15, 300-304 (reading will be handed out in class)

2) Watch clips about ongoing scramble for African resoures:  

 

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

4) Optional: King Leopold's Ghost documentary. ($3.50)

Oct 2 Thursday Wangari Maathai and Green Belt Movement

1) Read: Unbowed Chap 1-5

2) Watch clip about Wangari Maathai:

 

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Oct 7 Tuesday Maathai Con't

1) Read: Unbowed Chap 6-10

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and respond to at least three other students.

sleep of reason

 

Oct 9 Thursday Africa and Climate Change: Presentation by Dr. David Karowe

1) Read: Finish Unbowed and take Unbowed Quiz on E-Learning.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Oct 14 Tuesday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

Solutions Project Assignment Due

Oct 16 Thursday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

Solutions Project Assignment Due

Oct 21 Tuesday New Class of African Leaders

1) Read: Xala, Character List, take Xala Quiz in E-Learning.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading.

3) Optional: Read comments on Xala on the Postcolonial Dialogues, Postcolonial Web, & Watch film Xala:

Sembene

 

 

 

Oct 23 Thursday Women and Village Life

1) Read: First half Monique and the Mango Rains

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Oct 28 Tuesday

1) Read: Finish Monique and the Mango Rains, take Quiz in E-Learning.

2) Watch clip about Kris Halloway

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading.

4) Optional: NPR "Here on Earth" interview with Kris Holloway (click "Listen")

Oct 30 Thursday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

Nov 4 Tuesday War in Africa, Child Soldiers, & Ongoing Scramble

1) Read: A Long Way Gone to Chapter 12

2) Read: Background on the Sierra Leone Civil War (especially the section, "Diamonds and the Resource Curse." View this video about the Coltan trade in Congo Coltan trade, scramble for African oil, scramble for African farm land, scramble for African iron ore, and other sites, films or resources you can find via Google looking under "new scramble for Africa."

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

4) Optional: Watch documentary on which Blood Diamond was based, Cry Freetown (brutal) and the National Geographic documentary, Diamonds of War.

Diamonds of War

 

Violence and African Men in Hollywood

 Ishamael Beah

Invisible Children

Ishmael Beah speaking on Jamaican music: How Jamaica Conquered the World (Podcast)

4) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and film.

Kony 2012 Controversy

Nov 6 Thursday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

Nov 11 Tuesday

1) Finish A Long Way Gone and take Long Way Gone Quiz in E-Learning

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading , and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Nov 13 Thursday Inequality & Corruption

1) Read: Background for War in the Land of Egypt.

2) Read: War in the Land of Egypt Chapters 1-3

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Due: 3 pages of rough draft of the I-Search Paper

Nov 18 Tuesday

1) Read: Finish War in the Land of Egypt and take Quiz in E-Learning.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

Nov 20 Thursday Migration

1) Read Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, Character List

2) Watch The ImmigrationTrail documentary (all parts).

3) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and film.

Nov 23 Tuesday Migration Con't

1) Finish Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and take Quiz in E-Learning.

2) Write a post on our computer conference on the reading and film, and respond to at least 3 classmates.

3) Research Paper Due

November 26-30 Thanksgiving Recess

Dec 2 Tuesday Solutions Project: Organizing Day

Dec 4 Thursday

Share ideas for the Final Exam.

------------------------- Finals Week Dec 8-12 -------------------------

Dec 9 Tuesday 5:00-7:00 Final Exam

Solutions Project Self-Evaluation Due

Final Exam

 


created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
updated: 8/14