American Studies | Talk, Tales, & TV: Africa, Europe, & the U.S.
G620 | 13900 | Stoeltje
European colonialism, the slave trade, apartheid in South
Africa, African music, Roots. All of these subjects link Americans,
Europeans and Africans together, and they are all portrayed through
television, film, radio, video, and newspapers. At the same time,
indigenous knowledge and discourse practices continue to flourish in
Africa alongside modern media, and images and attitudes that
romanticize or denigrate Africa continue to produced in the U.S. and
Europe. This course examines these powerful tools of communication
with specific forms and genres and in specific sites where they are
performed. Films include the American movie portraying colonialism
in Kenya (Out of Africa), and the Ghanaian movie about American
slavery and African identity, Sankofa. Peter Davis’ In Darkest
Hollywood portrays film in South Africa under apartheid and the
influences of Hollywood in South Africa. We will also examine
attempts of South African television to produce edutainment (popular
sit coms) that deals with AIDS. We will view films by the leading
African filmmaker, Sembene, widely shown in the U.S. and Europe,
that explore issues of colonialism, gender, and belief in
conjunction with modern everyday practices.
Sites to be considered include traditional courts where
individuals bring their disputes and must utilize customary
discourse practices and the influence of Britain and the U.S. on law
and the state courts in specific locations. We will also consider
the relationship of African Americans to Africa through heritage
tourism and African music. Special attention will be devoted to the
role of radio and television in contemporary global political
affairs, and to the concert party in Ghana, a performance that
evolved out of a British popular entertainment and to the
contemporary expressions of politics in this theatrical form.
Students will write two papers, one on the relationship between
the U.S. and Africa, and one comparing the portrayal of Africa in
two separate forms of media. There will be a mid-term exam and a
final, and much of the discussions will take place through group
Texts: (A reader will also be included in the readings).
Ebron, Paula. PERFORMING AFRICA. (2002).
Baaz, Maria Eriksson and Mai Palmberg, eds. SAME AND OTHER:
NEGOTIATING AFRICAN IDENTITY IN CULTURAL PRODUCTION. (2001)
Cole, Catherine. GHANA’S CONCERT PARTY THEATRE. 2001.
Fardon, Richaard and Graham Furniss, eds. AFRICAN BROADCAST
CULTURES: RADIO IN TRANSITION.(2000)
Hirsch, Susan . PRONOUNCING AND PERSERVERING: GENDER AND THE
DISCOURSES OF DISPUTING IN AN AFRICAN ISLAMIC COURT. (1998)
Yankah, Kwesi. SPEAKING FOR THE CHIEF: OKYEAME AND THE POLITICS OF
AKAN ROYAL ORATORY. (1995.)
Jointly offered with ANTH-E408