African Literature

This semester long course will focus on questions about the importance of history, education, cultural traditions and language. We will explore these questions primarily through reading the work of writers from former colonial African countries. We will read the texts not only to appreciate and analyze their literary qualities but also to view them as products of the cultures and of the political/social circumstances in which they were written. We will be concerned with exploring how the writings reflect particular issues and themes related to the colonial and post-colonial African experience.

Readings: 
Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Weep Not, Child
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart
Obama, Barack. Dreams From My Father
Mark Mathabane. African Women: Three Generations
Nadine Gordimer. Selected short stories
Significant Assignments: 

Compose two essays that investigate and interpret the thematic aspects of the literature, such as: “Does an individual have the responsibility to give back to their community?” or “Do traditions prevent an individual or society from growing or changing?”

Write a substantive comparative literary analysis that examines two anchor texts in order to demonstrate your ability to: build and sustain a strong argument, make connections to social/political issues and historical setting, apply and analyze sophisticated literary techniques, incorporate evidence from multiple sources, utilize a unique writing style and voice, apply clear organization and structure, vivid word choice, and strong grammar

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Analyze and interpret texts from multiple cultures and historical periods
Present research and artwork that investigates the political, social, and historical aspects of the literature

Discuss and defend arguments about gender roles presented in the texts

Work in groups to decipher puzzling imagery and figurative language rooted in other cultural contexts

Assign a writing prompt for the class and facilitate the class discussion on a technical aspect (i.e. concentrating on stylistic choices such as language, point of view, characterization, use of irony and symbolism, etc.) of the literature

Sample PBATs: 
"What Role Does Gender Playin Kenyan Literature?"
“Do traditions prevent an individual or society from growing or changing?”
"What is the responsibility of the individual to his or her society as revealed in African literature?"