African Studies (AFST)

AFST 184a / AFAM 160a / AMST 160a / HIST 184a, The Rise and Fall of Atlantic SlaveryStaff

The history of peoples of African descent throughout the Americas, from the first African American societies of the sixteenth century through the century-long process of emancipation.  HU0 Course cr

AFST 238a / AFAM 192a / AMST 238a / ER&M 238a, Third World StudiesStaff

Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.  SO0 Course cr

* AFST 277a / ANTH 235a / ER&M 277a, Introduction to Critical Border StudiesLeslie Gross-Wyrtzen

This course serves as an introduction into the major themes and approaches to the study of border enforcement and the management of human mobility. We draw upon a diverse range of scholarship across the social sciences as well as history, architecture, and philosophy to better understand how we find ourselves in this present “age of walls” (Tim Marshall 2019). In addition, we take a comparative approach to the study of borders—examining specific contemporary and historical cases across the world in order to gain a comprehensive view of what borders are and how their meaning and function has changed over time. And because there is “critical” in the title, we explicitly evaluate the political consequences of borders, examine the sorts of resistances mobilized against them, and ask what alternative social and political worlds might be possible.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* AFST 285a / EDST 283a, Children's Literature in AfricaStaff

This course introduces students to oral and written literature by/for and/or about children in Africa: from its oral origins in riddles, lullabies, playground verse, and folk narratives, to written texts in the form of drama, poetry, and prose. The course examines representative texts of the genre to address its historical background/development and explore its distinctive (literary) qualities. Major themes and social issues that are dealt with in African children’s literature (including cultural notions of childhood, gender, and power) as well as critical approaches to the genre are considered.  HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* AFST 366a / EP&E 305a / HIST 367a / PLSC 364a, Bureaucracy in Africa: Revolution, Genocide, and ApartheidJonny Steinberg

A study of three major episodes in modern African history characterized by ambitious projects of bureaucratically driven change—apartheid and its aftermath, Rwanda’s genocide and post-genocide reconstruction, and Ethiopia’s revolution and its long aftermath. Examination of Weber’s theory bureaucracy, Scott’s thesis on high modernism, Bierschenk’s attempts to place African states in global bureaucratic history. Overarching theme is the place of bureaucratic ambitions and capacities in shaping African trajectories.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

AFST 381b / PLSC 381b, Government and Politics in AfricaKatharine Baldwin

The establishment and use of political power in selected countries of tropical Africa. The political role of ethnic and class cleavages, military coups, and the relation between politics and economic development.  SO0 Course cr

* AFST 385a / EP&E 350a / HIST 391a / HLTH 385a / PLSC 429a, Pandemics in Africa: From the Spanish Influenza to Covid-19Jonny Steinberg

The overarching aim of the course is to understand the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic in Africa in the context of a century of pandemics, their political and administrative management, the responses of ordinary people, and the lasting changes they wrought. The first eight meetings examine some of the best social science-literature on 20th-century African pandemics before Covid-19. From the Spanish Influenza to cholera to AIDS, to the misdiagnosis of yaws as syphilis, and tuberculosis as hereditary, the social-science literature can be assembled to ask a host of vital questions in political theory: on the limits of coercion, on the connection between political power and scientific expertise, between pandemic disease and political legitimacy, and pervasively, across all modern African epidemics, between infection and the politics of race. The remaining four meetings look at Covid-19. We chronicle the evolving responses of policymakers, scholars, religious leaders, opposition figures, and, to the extent that we can, ordinary people. The idea is to assemble sufficient information to facilitate a real-time study of thinking and deciding in times of radical uncertainty and to examine, too, the consequences of decisions on the course of events. There are of course so many moving parts: health systems, international political economy, finance, policing, and more. We also bring guests into the classroom, among them frontline actors in the current pandemic as well as veterans of previous pandemics well placed to share provisional comparative thinking. This last dimension is especially emphasized: the current period, studied in the light of a century of epidemic disease, affording us the opportunity to see path dependencies and novelties, the old and the new.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFST 425b / FREN 425b / MMES 360b, North African French PoetryThomas Connolly

Introduction to North African poetry composed in French during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works explored within the broader context of metropolitan French, Arabic, and Berber cultures; juxtaposition with other modes of expression including oral poetry, painting, dance, music, the Internet, and film. The literary, aesthetic, political, religious, and philosophical significance of poetic discourse.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFST 435a / THST 335a, West African Dance: Traditional to ContemporaryLacina Coulibaly

A practical and theoretical study of the traditional dances of Africa, focusing on those of Burkina Faso and their contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on rhythm, kinesthetic form, and gestural expression. The fusion of modern European dance and traditional African dance. Admission by audition during the first class meeting.  HURP
TTh 10:30am-12:20pm

* AFST 457a / AFAM 457a / AMST 470a / ER&M 467a / FREN 481a, Racial Republic: African Diasporic Literature and Culture in Postcolonial FranceFadila Habchi

This is an interdisciplinary seminar on French cultural history from the 1930s to the present. We focus on issues concerning race and gender in the context of colonialism, postcolonialism, and migration. The course investigates how the silencing of colonial history has been made possible culturally and ideologically, and how this silencing has in turn been central to the reorganizing of French culture and society from the period of decolonization to the present. We ask how racial regimes and spaces have been constructed in French colonial discourses and how these constructions have evolved in postcolonial France. We examine postcolonial African diasporic literary writings, films, and other cultural productions that have explored the complex relations between race, colonialism, historical silences, republican universalism, and color-blindness. Topics include the 1931 Colonial Exposition, Black Paris, decolonization, universalism, the Trente Glorieuses, the Paris massacre of 1961, anti-racist movements, the "beur" author, memory, the 2005 riots, and contemporary afro-feminist and decolonial movements.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFST 465a / ANTH 468a / HSHM 413a / URBN 400 / URBN 442a, Infrastructures of Empire: Control and (In)security in the Global SouthLeslie Gross-Wyrtzen

This advanced seminar examines the role that infrastructure plays in producing uneven geographies of power historically and in the “colonial present” (Gregory 2006). After defining terms and exploring the ways that infrastructure has been conceptualized and studied, we analyze how different types of infrastructure (energy, roads, people, and so on) constitute the material and social world of empire. At the same time, infrastructure is not an uncontested arena: it often serves as a key site of political struggle or even enters the fray as an unruly actor itself, thus conditioning possibilities for anti-imperial and decolonial practice. The geographic focus of this course is the African continent, but we explore comparative cases in other regions of the majority and minority world.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFST 485b, Literature, Life, and Thought in West Africa from mid-1800s to 1960sStaff

This seminar focuses on the genres of writing (journalism, expository and analytical prose, imaginative writing) that were used by the “Natives” in West Africa to generate a discourse of philosophical struggle against colonial domination. It examines the role of the institution of writing in shaping modern Africa, particularly how it transformed culture, beliefs, identity, established narratives, and conceptions of the new African nation. The currents of thought and debate, and the range of positions advanced by West African thinkers that shaped life and letters in British West Africa from the mid-1800s to the 1960s are dealt with. Attention is given to the the essay and the newspaper that were dominant during the colonial period, and the mainly imaginative literature—short stories, poetry, plays, and novels— in the era of the new African state.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am