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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laura H Chrisman
ENGL 319
Seattle Campus

African Literatures

Introduces and explores African literatures from a range of regions. Pays particular attention to writings connected with the historical experiences of colonialism, anti-colonial resistance, and decolonization. Considers the operations of race, gender, nationhood, neocolonialism, and globalization within and across these writings. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course introduces African literature, one of the most dynamic and fertile literatures of the 20^th and 21^st centuries. We explore a variety of literary techniques that draw upon traditional oral cultures as well as European forms, and deploy satiric, realist, and experimental styles to represent African experiences. The course engages with a historical range of literature and considers the political experiences of colonialism, anti-colonial resistance, nationalism, and decolonization as contexts for an understanding. As well as examining the specific cultural environments which frame African literary production, we will also chart broad issues such as language, race, gender, nationhood, environment, globalization, which are central to many African writers and critical commentators. Students should come away from the course with an understanding of how ideological struggles about national and postcolonial identities continue to inform global literature, and have insight into the shifting dynamics of colonialism and its aftermath. Students are expected to keep up with an intensive reading schedule. Writers may include Okot P’Bitek, Ferdinand Oyono, Bessie Head, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Yvonne Vera, Zakes Mda.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Laura H Chrisman
Date: 03/03/2011