Comparative Literature | Introduction to African Literature
C261 | 1226 | Julien
9:30-10:45 MW BH 141
Satisfies AHLA requirements
This is my story which I have related, if it be sweet or if it be not
sweet, take some elsewhere and let some come back to me.
–Ashanti, tale ending.
Literary traditions are ancient in Africa. Centuries ago there were
bards, scribes, storytellers, and poets and writers in hundreds of
languages from Amharic to Zulu. Many of these traditions endure, and
now, given the recent history of colonialism, there are writers who
write in English, French, Portugese, and Arabic. Today's writers draw
on the oral and written traditions of Africa as well as those of
Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Africa is a particularly fertile space
for the literary imagination, as suggested by three Nobel Prizes in
literature awarded to Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt
and Nadine Gordimer of South Africa.
This course will introduce you to a broad array of literatures from
around the continent. We shall read proverbs, oral and written tales,
poetry and novels, and shall see several films. Through close
readings, we shall examine the artistry of each text and its
particular contribution to contemporary debates on identity, race,
gender, and power. All readings will be in English and of manageable