English 3140, Spring 2022
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. Most 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. During our reading and study, students will focusing on specific issues, and engaging in additional reading, research, and collaborative action with African and international organizations.
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 email@example.com.
Jan 10: Monday Introductions
Jan 12: Wednesday Google Earth, Africa Background
Jan 17: Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan 19: Wednesday Postcolonial Transition
Jan 24: Monday Postcolonial Transition Con't
Jan 26: Wednesday Postcolonial Transition Con't
1. Read: Finish Unbowed
Jan 31: Monday Climate Crisis in Africa
Feb 2: Wednesday Climate Change Cont'd
Feb 7: Monday Xala and Neocolonialism
Feb 9: Wednesday Neocolonialism
View: Stealing Africa - Why Poverty? (58min English Subtitles) from Why Poverty? on Vimeo. This Community Atlas is also an interesting resource.
Feb 14: Monday South African Apartheid
1. Read: Born a Crime Part I (Chapters 1-8)
Feb 16: Wednesday Collaboration Project Planning Day
Feb 21: Monday Apartheid Transition
Read: Born a Crime Parts II & III (Chapters 9-18)
Feb 23: Wednesday Collaboration Project Planning Day
Feb 28: Monday Collaboration Project Planning Day
Mar 2: Wednesday Oil and the Niger Delta
Mar 7-11 Spring Break
Mar 14: Monday Oil on Water
1. Read: Chapters 1-8
Mar 16: Wednesday Oil on Water Con't
1. Read: Chapters 9-15
Mar 21: Monday Oil on Water Con't
1. Read: Finish Oil on Water
Mar 23: Wednesday Afrofuturism
1. Read: Lagoon Act I, Chapters 1-25
Mar 28: Monday Lagoon Con't
Mar 30: Wednesday Lagoon Con't
Apr 4: Monday Colaboration Project Planning Day
Apr 6: Wednesday Global Refugee Crisis
Apr 11: Monday African Refugees
1. Read: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits "The Trip" & Part I: Before
Apr 13: Wednesday African Refugees Con't
Apr 18: Monday Preparation for Final Exam
Apr 20: Wednesday Present Collaboration Project
Presentation (slide show) to include: source of idea, planning process, how it went (what you did, who collaborated), hoped for impacts. Show off website/online documentation, provide URL.
Apr 25-28: Finals Week
Apr 27: Wednesday 2:45-4:45 Final Exam
Bring 2-3 page summary of your contribution to Collaboration Project and propose a grade.