COMM 159 - First-year Seminar in Media Issues
Fall 2021, Section 002 - Making News in Africa
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Communication and Media (COMM)
Department: LSA Communication and Media
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Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
Credits do not count toward the Communication Studies major requirements.
Waitlist Capacity:
Enforced Prerequisites:
First-year students only.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This first-year seminar is about the history and politics of journalism in Africa. Print technology arrived in Africa in the mid-19th century as part of the apparatus of colonial rule. African intellectuals quickly recognized print technology as a useful means of addressing new audiences. In the 1930s and 40s, African nationalists used newspapers to define and defend the cultural norms that drew them together as a people. In the 1950s urban populists found in newspapers a vehicle by which to mobilize campaigns. In the 1960s and 70s, after independence, African governments sought to close down avenues of free speech. But newspapermen kept publishing, and in the 1990s newspapers were the forums where a new generation of democratic politics could be conceived. Each week we will focus on a different newspaper. We'll discuss the newspaper that Mahatma Gandhi published in South Africa during the 1920s. We'll talk about the 'Voice of Uganda', which was an instrument for Idi Amin's dictatorship. We’ll study the politics of Drum, a news magazine that made African cities look posh, modern, and romantic. Nowhere was the ‘news’ simply available, ready to be reported. African editors made choices about what was newsworthy, and by their news-making work, they encouraged their readers to see themselves as sharers of particular experiences. Our interest here is in how newsmen used to print to create news, address the public, organize people, and open up paths of political action. At the end of the semester, students will prepare a research paper about the biography of an African newspaper.

Intended Audience:

Students interested in journalism, communications studies, and history.


COMM 159 - First-year Seminar in Media Issues
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
 In Person
3Enrollment Management
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM

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