Humanities Seminars Course: African Writers and Film-Makers: Changing Scenes and Screens

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 9:00am to Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 12:00pm
Rubel Room, Poetry Center 1508 E. Helen Street Tucson, AZ 85721
WEDNESDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. September 30 - December 16, 2015. No class on November 11 and 25, 2015. Register here.

Tuition: $195

By studying literature and cinema, students in this course will learn about various African cultures, traditions, and institutions. The class will show how French-speaking African writers and film-makers use literature and films to build narratives concerning African cultures and societies. At the same time, their work offers a counternarrative to persistent images of life in Africa. Our focus will be on West Africa, which forms a cultural entity, and three themes that correspond to three historical periods: first, “Ancient Africa,” with an emphasis on storytelling and oral traditions; second, “The Clash of Cultures,” which deals with the colonization of Africa and its consequences; and third, “African Women and the Role of Women in Contemporary Society.”  We will look at how these themes are explored in articles, fiction, and poetry, using films to illustrate the cultural elements discussed in the written material. The course ends with a traditional cultural “performance.”

Required Reading: 

Please note that the following texts are listed in the order in which they will be discussed in class.

Niane, D.T.  Sundiata. An Epic of Old Mali. Pearson, 2006. ISBN-13:  9781405849425.

Ousmane, Sembène. God’s Bits of Wood. Heinemann, 1996. ISBN-10: 0435909592.

Barry, Mariama. The Little Peul. University of Virginia Press, 2010. ISBN-13: 9780813929637.

Diome, Fatou. The Belly of the Atlantic. Trans. Ros Schwartz and Lulu Norman. Serpent’s Tail, 2008. ISBN-10: 1852429038.  

PDF articles will be added in late summer to the password-protected website

IRÈNE D’ALMEIDA is Professor of French and Francophone literatures in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Arizona. In addition to French language, Dr. d’Almeida’s teaching focuses on African literature and specifically on African women writers. Among her many publications, she is best known for her book Francophone African Women Writers: Destroying the Emptiness of Silence, the first major study of fiction and nonfiction by Francophone African women written in English.