Kristy A. Leissle
Interdisciplinary seminar focusing upon one particular aspect of the African continent. Emphasis may be humanistic, social scientific, or historical. African Studies faculty and visiting scholars lecture on areas of their own expertise.
This course is concerned with the political economy of sub-Saharan Africa, as understood through the historic, economic, ethnographic, and theoretic scholarship produced in the United States and Europe. Just as importantly, it is concerned with representations of Africa in advertising, consumer culture, journalism, and film, and how these inform and intersect with political economic reality. Our course materials cover historic and contemporary relationships between African states and their economies, focusing on colonialism, neoliberalism, and contemporary trade relations. This course is structured by my own research on the cocoa-chocolate commodity chain between Ghana and Britain and my use of feminist analytics. As such, our discussions of political economy will focus on West African agricultural systems, gender politics, cocoa and chocolate markets, popular commodity culture (including fair trade), Ghanaian economics and culture, and British food systems.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Seminar-style discussion will be the primary class format, with several lectures and in-class assignments interspersed throughout the quarter. Students should be prepared for their discussion of the readings to make up the majority of our class time.
Class assignments and grading