AFR 205 Fall 2013 Introduction to African Literature: Witness Literature

Cross Listed as ENGL269
After the television images, the photographs and the news stories, come the writers. In the words of Nobel prize-winning South African writer Nadine Gordimer, it is the role and duty of the writer "to bear inward witness," for the power to transform traumatic events through literature is the "awesome responsibility of their endowment with the seventh sense of the imagination." 'Witness literature' is an emerging canon, the concept of which can be applied to much African literature of the past fifty years, including the work of Aminatta Forna, novelist and memoirist who will lead this course. From this perspective we'll study novels, novellas and short stories and examine how a range of writers portray political events through their writing, work to extract meaning from violence, convey the ways of resistance and demonstrate the power of memory. We will read the work of Ngugi wa Thiongo, Ahmadou Kourouma and Chinua Achebe, as well as those of the continent's new voices: Helon Habila, Brian Chikwava, Petina Gappah and Uwem Akpan.
Class Format: discussion/seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation and two/three papers totaling about 20-25 pages
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none; this is an introductory course, so no prior knowledge of African literature is necessary
Enrollment Preference: first-year students, sophomores, English majors and Africana Studies concentrators
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Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL
Divisional Attributes: Division II
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Enrollment Limit: 30
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 1106
AFR205-01(F) SEM Intro to African Literature Division 2: Social Studies Aminatta Forna
MW 11:00 AM-12:15 PM Paresky 112 1106
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