HIST 103
Growing up in Africa/Growing up African Fall 2019
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

Most African nations today are youthful: while the median age in the United States is 38 years, the median age on the African continent is just 19. Young Africans are portrayed both outside and inside the continent in strikingly contradictory ways: as victims of oppression, dangerous threats to social order, or the saviors of their society. But beyond these stereotypes, what is it like to be young in Africa? This tutorial introduces students to the extremely diverse experiences of childhood and adolescence across the continent, from the 1800s to the present. We will draw on scholarly research as well as novels and biographies. In particular, the course focuses on how young Africans have boldly responded to dominant expectations about their gender formation, sexuality, and their relationship to authority–responses which have often provoked broader social conflicts. The first half of the class examines examples of the lives of children and adolescents born during the eras of slavery, colonial rule and apartheid, and how those institutions changed previous relationships between African youth and their elders. The second half of the course considers attempts by post-colonial African state leaders to mobilize “the youth” as nation builders and manage their behaviors since the 1950s-and how young Africans have reacted. In the class, we will also consider how migration and emigration have impacted Africans’ experiences of growing up outside their home communities. Throughout the semester, students will track how the definition of childhood, adulthood, and intermediary statuses (e.g. youth), has differed across time and place, while also reflecting on how they perceive their own process of “growing up.”
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1123
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: five tutorial papers (5 pages each) and five short response papers (2 pages each), alternating each week; one paper will be revised and resubmitted
Prerequisites: first-years and sophomores
Enrollment Preferences: first- and second-year students who have not yet taken a 100-level course in History; juniors and seniors only with permission of instructor
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Every week one student will produce an argument-driven essay (~5 pages) on the assigned reading, while the other student will write a 2- to 3-page response. These roles will swap weekly. Instructor will provide regular feedback on argument, content, and structure of the essays and students will choose one essay to revise for resubmission at the end of the semester.
DPE Notes: The course looks at how people in Africa have been subject to various forms of social control because of their status as children or youth. At the same time, the examples studied emphasize the creative and powerful ways that young Africans have defined their lives in opposition to various structures of power. The struggles we will examine take place because of differences in age, but also of marital status, social background, class, gender, and race.
Attributes: HIST Group A Electives - Africa

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