AAS 290 - Selected Topics in Black World Studies
Winter 2021, Section 002 - The Trickster Figure in West African Literature
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
01/19/21-03/05/21. (Drop/Add Deadline 02/01/21.).
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Partial Term 1/19/21 - 3/5/21 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


How does a spider trounce a lion? And why do so many African princes send emails promising immense wealth while showcasing such poor financial skills? During this course, we will examine the evolution of the trickster figure from folk literature to modern texts. Tricksters are found in different literary traditions, from ancient religious writings to modern detective fiction. They are as diverse as Kweku Ananse, Brer Rabbit, or Odysseus. While certain texts, particularly those from monotheistic cultures, tend to be wary of the trickster’s untrustworthiness, others regularly embrace his subversiveness. We will read from the Jero plays, The Fortunes of Wangrin and Diaries of a Dead African, and dip into online sketches. We will ask if it would be right to call the African trickster a culture hero. Whose side is he on, really? How do the reader and the society relate to someone who can convincingly be argued as problematic but is also entertaining? We will tackle these questions by focusing on textual analysis and how we judge African literary texts.

Course Requirements:

Regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, and keeping up with the reading for the course are all both expected and essential. Students will also write essays and take a final examination.

Intended Audience:

This course is geared towards students who have interests in Afroamerican, African, and/or Caribbean studies. The course meets the 200-level area course requirement for DAAS majors and minors.

Class Format:

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AAS 290 - Selected Topics in Black World Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
Partial Term 1/19/21 - 3/5/21
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Partial Term 1/19/21 - 3/5/21
003 (SEM)
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
Partial Term 3/8/21 - 4/21/21

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