Courses

Spring 2021

Beginning Yoruba II
This course is a continuation of Beginning Yoruba I. It continues to offer students intensive training and practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing Yorùbá. In Beginning Yoruba II, students read and listen to texts that provide an introduction to independent research in the Yorùbá culture.
Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
This course is an examination of the major political and economic trends in twentieth-century African history. It offers an interpretation of modern African history and the sources of its present predicament. In particular, we study the foundations of the colonial state, the legacy of the late colonial state (the period before independence), the rise and problems of resistance and nationalism, the immediate challenges of the independent states (such as bureaucracy and democracy), the more recent crises (such as debt and civil wars) on the continent, and the latest attempts to address these challenges from within the continent.
Instructors: Jacob S. Dlamini
Critical African Studies
Critical African Studies is a colloquium designed as a capstone course for African Studies Certificate students. The course is designed to introduce students to cutting-edge scholarship in African Studies. Students engage with African Studies scholars from Princeton University and beyond. In addition to attending the African Studies Lecture Series and Works-in-Progress series, students in Critical African Studies will workshop their junior or senior independent research. This capstone course is open to junior and senior certificate students and must be taken to fulfill the African Studies Certificate requirements.
Instructors: Chambi Seithy Chachage, Titilola Halimat Somotan
Human Evolution
Humans have a deep history, one that informs our contemporary reality. Understanding our evolutionary history is understanding both what we have in common with other primates and other hominins, and what happened over the last 7 to 10 million years since our divergence from the other African ape lineages. More specifically, the story of the human is centered in what happened the ~2.5 million year history of our own genus (Homo). This class outlines the history of our lineage and offers an anthropological and evolutionary explanation for what this all means for humans today, and why we should care.
Instructors: Agustin Fuentes
Intermediate Wolof II
This course will further develop students' awareness and understanding of the Wolof language and culture, as well as their mastery of grammar, writing skills, and oral skills. Course materials will incorporate various types of text including tales, cartoons, as well as multimedia such as films, videos, and audio recordings.
Intoxicating Cultures: Alcohol in Everyday Life
Alcohol is not just an intoxicating drink, but an "embodied material culture" embedded in our experiences of everyday life. What does our relationship with alcohol reveal about individual and collective identities? What does it say about the social and economic realities of a globalized world today? Drawing from literature in anthropology, alcohol studies, and social theory, this course asks students to think critically about the relationship between alcohol and culture in both their own lives and in the lives of others. Readings primarily focus on alcohol production and consumption in Africa.
Instructors: Christina Tekie Collins
Introduction to African Art
An introduction to African art and architecture from prehistory to the 20th century. Beginning with Paleolithic rock art of northern and southern Africa, we will cover ancient Nubia and Meroe; Neolithic cultures such as Nok, Djenne and Ife; African kingdoms, including Benin, Asante, Bamun, Kongo, Kuba, Great Zimbabwe, and the Zulu; Christian Ethiopia and the Islamic Swahili coast; and other societies, such as the Sherbro, Igbo, and the Maasai. By combining Africa's cultural history and developments in artistic forms we establish a long historical view of the stunning diversity of the continent's indigenous arts and architecture.
Instructors: Chika O. Okeke-Agulu
Reading Africa: Anthropological Approaches to the Continent
How are anthropologists writing about Africa today? What are their theoretical and thematic preoccupations? How do they stylistically represent the everyday lives of Africans? We will do a close reading of seven full-length ethnographies that chronicle the rich diversity of cultures on the continent. From the production of shea butter by indigenous women, to the crisis in Darfur, the hope and dreams of American Visa lottery winners, the bloody conflict between the international community and Somali pirates, we will read a wide range of ethnographies that challenge prevailing Western stereotypes about what life is really like on the continent.
Instructors: Christina Tekie Collins
Sisters' Voices: African Women Writers
In this class, we study the richness and diversity of poetry, novels, and memoirs written by African women. The course expands students' understanding of the long history of women's writing across Africa and a range of languages. It focuses on their achievements while foregrounding questions of aesthetics and style. As an antidote to misconceptions of African women as silent, students analyze African women's self-representations and how they theorize social relations within and across ethnic groups, generations, classes, and genders. The course increase students' ability to think, speak, and write critically about gender.
Instructors: Wendy Laura Belcher
The Mother and Father Continent: A Global History of Africa
Africa is both the Mother and Father Continent: it gave birth to Humankind (as a biological species) and our African ancestors created Human history, Culture, and Civilization. Human and Global History developed literally for hundreds of thousands of years in Africa before it spread worldwide. The depth of Africa's history explains the continent's enormous diversity in terms of, for example, genetics and biodiversity and languages and cultures. Moreover, as the course demonstrates, Africa and its societies were never isolated from the rest of the world. Rather, the continent and its peoples remain very much at the center of global history.
Instructors: Emmanuel H. P. M. Kreike

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