CAAS 346 - Literature in African History
Section: 001
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
This class satisfies the New Traditions requirement for English concentrators.
Advisory Prerequisites:
CAAS 111 and 200.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is about the history of African literature. But our focus will not be on literature in itself. We will study how African writers, in their creative work, participated in the political and moral arguments of their time. In epic dramas, in novels, in poetry and in autobiographies, African composers conjured up audiences, fired them with a shared vision of the past and the future, and set them on a forward path together. By studying the social and political work that African writers did, this course explores the intersection of literature and history, and of imagination and politics.

We will begin by studying the epic literature of southern and western Africa. The focus is on two epic heroes — Sundiata and Shaka — whose biographies have been configured by griots, poets, and politicians. In the second part of the course we'll study the history of literacy in colonial Africa, focusing on the work that Christian missionaries and African converts did to standardize vernacular languages and create new literary genres. The third part of the course studies the nationalist literature that Africans produced in the 1950s and 1960s. In novels and in theatre, Africa's creative writers conjured up inspirational stories from the past; and in so doing they invited their readers to imagine themselves as constituents of a nation. Finally, in the fourth part of the course we'll explore a few of Africa's local literary traditions. In Yorubaland (Nigeria), in urban south Africa, and in central Kenya, contemporary African writers draw from longer intellectual traditions in vernacular-language writing. In studying this literary habitus we'll also be investigating the local roots for world literature.

Readings will include Modikwe Dikobe, The Marabi Dance (Heinemann, 1973), D.T. Niane, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali (Addison, 1995), Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (Seal Press, 1988), Ben Okri, The Famished Road (Anchor, 1993) and several other scholarly and literary works. Students will be evaluated on the basis on a midterm examination, a final examination, and a final paper. All readings are composed in, or translated into, English.

CAAS 346 - Literature in African History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9781405849425
Sundiata : an epic of old Mali, Author: D.T. Niane ; translated by G.D. Pickett ; with extra material by David Chappell, James A. Jones., Publisher: Pearson Longman Rev. ed. 2006
ISBN: 9780142437162
The interesting narrative and other writings, Author: Olaudah Equiano ; edited with an introduction and notes by Vincent Carretta., Publisher: Penguin Books Rev. ed. 2003
ISBN: 9780691116563
The portable Bunyan : a transnational history of The pilgrim's progress, Author: Isabel Hofmeyr., Publisher: Princeton University Press 2004
ISBN: 9780954702335
Nervous conditions, Author: Tsitsi Dangarembga., Publisher: Ayebia Clarke 2004
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780385474542
Things fall apart, Author: Chinua Achebe., Publisher: Anchor Books 1st Anchor 1994
ISBN: 9780802133632
The palm-wine drinkard, Author: Amos Tutuola., Publisher: Grove Press [Nachdr.] 2004
ISBN: 9780865439993
Matigari, Author: Ngugi wa Thiongo, Publisher: Africa World Press 1998
ISBN: 9780140065596
Six feet of the country, Author: Nadine Gordimer., Publisher: Penguin Books [17 Druck 1986
ISBN: 9780385425131
The famished road, Author: Ben Okri., Publisher: Anchor Books, Random House 1. Anchor 2002
ISBN: 9780435902292
Chaka, Author: Thomas Mofolo, Publisher: Heinemann Repr. 1983
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for CAAS 346 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)