Fall 2021 Undergraduate English Courses

358:438 Afropolitanism from Below

01  MW 5:00-6:20   14770   IBIRONKE   ONLINE

Afropolitan emerged in the start of the 21st century as a new name for a subset of African migrants. It quickly trended as a new way of thinking about global Africanity, that is, the historical conditions of being African, and Africa and Africans’ material relations in the world. It provided a new grid for theorizing transnational and translational African modernity.

The dominant critique of Afropolitanism as a product of neo-liberal elitism has not been sufficiently attentive to the activism and radical imaginary of the concept. The subject of this course: Afropolitanism from Below, addresses this inattention by harnessing the currents of thought that dates back to Fanon to examine the ways in which being “Africans of the [Contemporary-21st century] World” continues to evoke a dynamic of class and race that positions Africans as underdogs. Whether as elites or as plebians, the African experience within the global networks and exchanges is often marked by difference that demands urgent critical interrogations. This course provides the space for such interrogations and hopes to open the concept of Afropolitanism up to new possibilities and potentials.

To the extent that Afropolitanism explores literary production and cultural exchanges beyond the literature of migration, we will take into account the specificity of the US by inquiring into the differences in modes of circulation, textual and human, between America and Africa, as opposed to Great Britain or Canada. We will take stock of how Afropolitanism is performing the critical functions that concepts such as diaspora, transnational, cosmopolitan etc., have so far inadequately performed. The course will ultimately assess the relevance of contemporary African writings as critiques of western global power, and the entanglement of African writing and neoliberalism.

Possible Reading List:

Known & Strange Things Author: Cole        

Open City Author: Cole         

Ghana Must Go Author: Selasi                     

We Need New Names Author: Bulawayo      

Behold The Dreamers Author: Mbue

How Beautiful We Were Author: Mbue        

Selected Chapters from:

Balseiro, Isabel, and Zachariah Rapola. The Passport That Does Not Pass Ports : African

Literature Of Travel in the Twenty-First Century.

Knudsen, Eva Rask, and Ulla Rahbek. In Search of the Afropolitan : Encounters, Conversations and Contemporary Diasporic African Literature.

Mbembe, Achille, and Achille Mbembe. Out of the Dark Night : Essays on Decolonization.