Course Description: From Joseph Conrad’s epic dystopia in Heart of Darknessto Black Panther’s Wakanda, the African continent has frequently functioned as an imaginary and metaphorical space as much as a geographical one. How do fictions by African writers represent this space, and what do fictions of Africa represent for the global imaginary? How do African writers balance the idea of an imagined and often abstract African continent with Africa as a lived and local reality? Paying particular attention to tropes of Africa as dystopia/utopia, this class will look at how fictions of Africa circulate on the continent and in the global sphere. We will also investigate how fiction written by African writers engage with the tension between Africa, the real and geographicalspace, and Africa, a conceptual and imaginaryspace. Finally, we will investigate what Africa, real andimagined, means for an international Black Consciousness movement in the Diaspora.
Course Objectives:In the coming quarter, this class will read, analyze and interpret a number of African works that reflect on the state of the continent alongside some of the major issues of globalization that impact both the politics of the continent and the global imaginary of it. This course will contribute to and sharpen your critical thinking, writing and interpretation skills through reading, writing and presentation assignments. We will examine the ways in which African Literature enables a diversity of cultures come into contact, borrow from, respond to one another. We will ask how African Literature models ideals such as diversity, collective consciousness, and intersectionality, andwe will reflect on the ways in which these Global Anglophone texts challenge our ideas about diversity, intersectionality, and unity. This means that active participation and a willingness to engage with diverse–and perhaps opposing–viewpoints is required to develop your critical thinking skills. While we will primarily focus on thematic similarities between the assigned texts that come from diverse contexts, in order to do justice to them as readers, we must also maintain attention to the more “local,” or “singular” social or historical differences between them.