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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Daniel J Hoffman
ANTH 313
Seattle Campus

Peoples of Africa

Survey of the many cultures of pre- and post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa. Appreciation of the adaptability, strength, and creativity of African peoples. Recommended: ANTH 100.

Class description

This course examines culture, politics, history, aesthetics and religion in Africa through a variety of sources  scholarly works by historians and anthropologists, films, journalistic accounts, novels  with an eye toward understanding the way in which Africans have creatively responded to the slave trade, to European colonialism, and to the more recent crises of a globalized postcolonial world. An important focus of the course will be to examine Euroamerican representations of Africa, and the way in which they are often at odds with African realities. The need to think critically about such representations is particularly pressing at a moment when images of Africa as failure  as a place of famine, AIDS, failed democracies, failed development  have (once again) come to dominate Euroamerican popular and media understandings.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course will combine lecture with in-class discussion.

Recommended preparation

No background in African studies is required or expected for this course - just an interest in the issues. Students should be prepared to discuss the material presented in the readings and in lectures.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments will include one short paper and in-class mid-term and final exams.

A four page essay will constitute 20% of the final grade. In class exams each make up 35% of the grade, and 10% will be based on class participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Daniel J Hoffman
Date: 10/22/2004