Literatures of Africa

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Discipline CoreSOL2EN3384

Semester and Year Offered: Semesters II and IV, Winter Semester

Course Coordinator: Dr. Bhoomika Meiling

Email of course coordinator: Bhoomika[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course focuses on colonial and post-colonial writings which emerged from different African colonies and nations in the twentieth century. It invites student to grapple with issues of gender, race, ethnicity, language and decolonization through a reading of works which respond and react to racial subjugation, exploitation and even erasure faced by the people of Africa over the last four centuries. An attempt would be made to survey some representative texts from Africa written in the recent past in English or in translation.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of decolonization with a special reference to Africa.
  2. Identify writings of some prominent African writers and poets.
  3. Demonstrate multicultural knowledge of history of struggle against colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa and relate these struggles to those of the people of Asia too.
  4. Appreciate and value the plurality of literatures and languages of Africa.
  5. Apply research skills to source materials for class presentations and assessment tasks.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules and Reading List:

Part I: In the Wake of Decolonisation: This module engages with the period of violence and confusion in various nations Africa which followed immediately after decolonization. An exploration of the reasons behind the military coups and political instability is undertaken herein.

  • Nugugi wa Thiong’o- Petals of Blood (1977)
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Half of A Yellow Sun (2006)
  • Part II: Writing Black and Writing Back?: Different methods adopted by African writers to engage with and confront their African identity will be studied in this module
  • Select short stories and poems from Black Orpheus
  • Select poems by Birago Diop and Yama Oulaguem
  • Part III: Penpoints and Gunpoints- Language and Writing in Africa: The significant issue of language of African literature is raised and analysed in this module.
  • Selections from Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986) by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • Selections from Ngugi wa Thiong’o Speaks (2006) Edited by Sander Reinhard and Bernth Lindfors
  • ‘The African Writer and the English Language’ by Chinua Achebe
  • ‘The Old Man of Usumbura and his Misery’ by Taban Lo Liyong
  • Part IV: Feminism with a Small ‘F’: Women’s issues which got eclipsed behind the larger political issues of decolonized Africa are explored in this module.
  • Bessie Head- Selections from A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings (1990)
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga- Nervous Conditions (1988)
  • ‘Phase One’ from Kicking Tongues (1998) by Karen King-Aribisala
  • Part V: Being the ‘Other’: Africa is the motherland of many ethnicities. In this module, writings of authors belonging some interesting minority communities are studied.
  • The Conservationist (1974) by Nadine Gordimer
  • Selections from Youth (2002) by J.M.Coetzee
  • Selections from African Laughter (1992) by Doris Lessing
  • ‘When She Was Queen’ from Elvis Raja (2006) by M.G.Vassanji

Assessment Details with weights: Mid-semester Examination 30%; Class assignments and participation: 20%; Presentations: 30%, Term paper: 20%.