E104 | 0120 | Hanson

9:05-9:55A     MW     WH101

Topic:  History in Novels, Narratives and Films

Africans represent their past and the lives of their prominent
ancestors in entertaining oral and written stories and in spectacular
cinematic productions.  What kinds of historical information can we
gain from these accounts?  We explore this question as we read African
narratives and watch clips of films produced by African directors.  In
discussions and written assignments, students probe the accounts for
historical information and meanings which they convey.  Course aims
are to provide information about the African past, to introduce
students to the nature of the discipline called history, and to
provide skills in reading and writing critically.

Class format: the course meets three times weekly.  The common Monday
and Wednesday sessions are devoted to lectures, watching film clips or
listening to oral narratives, and discussions which develop the
background to understand the core narratives for the course.  The
weekly discussion sections allow the students to probe the meanings of
the narratives more deeply.

Class readings: core texts include three African oral epics (in
English translation), one narrative of an African who was captured
during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and one novel.
Additional readings supplement these core texts.

Course requirements: the final course grade is determined by the
quality of work in several short writing assignments (50%), two essay
exams (40%) and class participation (10%).