This course will be an introduction to the cultures of Portuguese-speaking Africa, namely: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé & Príncipe.
Through an interdisciplinary lens focusing on history, geopolitics, literature, and film, students will become acquainted with the key cultural problematics related to Lusophone Africa and the various individual countries in question. This will be a unique opportunity for students to engage with a cultural reality that is rarely studied in the context of African Studies or even in Portuguese courses throughout the United States.
Symbolic representation in the realm of the arts and culture has been crucial in the formation of national as well as African identities from colonial times to the years of post-independence under socialism or under the aegis of global capitalism. The intimate dimensions of everyday life are the privileged focus of fictional texts (either filmic or literary), allowing for a highly nuanced and textured exploration of the complexities of individual and collective human lives. These texts offer alternative, complementary, and necessary explorations of the lived experiences of Africans, which are often lost in the quantitatively-oriented social sciences, development studies, or public health approaches that predominate with the academic study of Africa.
This course will also serve as an introduction to Africa and a number of key issues related to colonialism and post-independence; Pan-Africanism and Négritude; wars of liberation and Third World Marxism; national identity formations; the politics of gender; the travails of democratization and modernization; the challenges of nation re-building and peace-making; and a possible future for (Lusophone) Africa in a globalized world.
Throughout this course, important cultural links will be established with other regional or national realities such Brazil, Portugal, Spanish-speaking America, and the United States.
Short papers 75% Students will write 5 papers (3-5 pp long). Four of these will be based on the essays, poetry/fiction, and films. One will be based on Internet research related to a Lusophone African country. Papers may be written in English or Portuguese and students will be asked to re-write their paper in order to correct grammar, revise content, and improve their grade. Due dates are indicated throughout the schedule. Participation 25%. You are encouraged to participate actively either in form of questions or insights during the discussions themselves. As you read and reflect upon what you read, make sure you jot down notes on what you consider interesting, important, or difficult aspects of the readings in order to come well prepared for class. Students will have the chance to discuss in groups, pairs, or together with the whole class. Students will receive a weekly grade on participation.
This course is geared towards students interested in exploring African history, geopolitics, literature, and film. The course meets the 300-level cross-area course requirement for DAAS concentrators and minors. This course will be taught in English and reading material will be in English translation.
30% lecture 50% discussion 20% film screenings