Fall 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:365 Very Contemporary African Literature

01   CAC   TTH6   08187     ROBOLIN      HH-A2

Very Contemporary African Literature

This upper-level course will examine 21st-century African literature across a wide generic, stylistic, linguistic, and geographic range.  The works published in the last fifteen years include novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and memoirs in conventional and experimental forms.  While we will predominantly study texts written in English, we will take up several in translation.  This very contemporary African literature covers a panoply of subjects and approaches, but we will largely concentrate on the themes of memory and movement.  These two themes prompt a series of questions:  How do contemporary African writers reckon with questions of the colonial and post-colonial past that bear so significantly on the 21st-century present?  In the current moment, how have writers responded to new surges in human migration across or out of the African continent?  And what, if any, are the relationships between recalling the past and geographical movement?  

Answers (and more questions) will be found by working through the primary texts, but we will incorporate literary criticism and theory, as needed.  Our primary texts will likely come from some of the following authors: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Namwali Serpell, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nuruddin Farah, Véronique Tadjo, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Maaza Mengiste, Davip Diop, Laila Lalami, Sisonke Msimang, and Zoë Wicomb. 

Evaluations will be based on strong attendance, regular participation, Hypothes.is posts, blog posts, two mid-term essays, and one final research paper/project.