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, 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, biography, autobiography, history, library and on-line sources to begin to understand the enormous complexity of Africa and the challenges facing the continent. A cornerstone of this course is the idea that knowledge creates responsibility. Students will be expected to address what they are learning by research, collaboration, and action.
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, the environment, warfare and child soldiers, AIDS, immigration, etc.
As we learn about challenges in Africa we will also explore solutions. Africa is young and growing quickly; in some countries half of the population is under 25. Most of our reading will be about young people, many college age, their life experience and how they are making a positive difference.
2011 is the year of the Arab Spring. The popular uprisings and revolutionary struggles against dictatorships across North Africa including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, and other countries demonstrate widespread people's determination to confront economic and political conditions, the aspirations of a new generation of Africans, and the impact of new media and technologies.
As the students in this class immerse themselves in learning about Africa, they are invited to participate in making a difference. After extensive reading and study, students will form groups focused 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.
We will engage in reading and discussion, in a threaded on-line computer conference at Nicenet. The course name is "2011 African Literature" and our class key is E320927237. 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 a number of technology infused activities.
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.
The Solutions Project will allow significant student creativity and choice and the development of wiki. This section of the course is experimental and the syllabus provisional.
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. Missing three classes will affect your final grade and missing five or more classes
may lead to failing the course.
See my philosophy regarding participation and attendance.
Dr. Webb's office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605, and his office hours
are M/W/F afterclass, and by appointment and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Feeling stress? English 3140 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza.)