HISTORY 362 - Literature in African History
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course is about the history of African literature. The reading list includes some of the founding works in the field. It also includes lesser-known texts: novels published serially in West African newspapers; editorial writings from early Christian converts; a play from a beleaguered Ugandan author. We’ll be studying how African writers, in their creative work, participated in the political and moral arguments of their time. Literature was not an escape from real life. African writers did work in their texts: they 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. The course is organized around three national literatures: the literatures of Nigeria, of Kenya, and of South Africa. In each of the case studies we’ll be tracing the historical development of a particular literary tradition, studying how authors commented on the changing politics of their homelands. We’ll also be exploring a set of cross-cutting themes that draw the three case studies together. Some of these texts define and defend a national community. Other texts depict the crisis of urban life in twentieth century Africa. In the whole of our work together we’ll be asking a set of questions about the vocation of the literary writer. What were these authors doing in their own time? What was literature good for?

Course Requirements:

No data submitted

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates interested in African literature and history.

Class Format:

Lecture + seminar.


HISTORY 362 - Literature in African History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Partial Term 8/31/20 - 12/10/20
011 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/31/20 - 12/8/20

Textbooks/Other Materials

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