Anthropology | Talk, Tales and Television:Africa, Europe and the U.S.
E408 | 25414 | 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
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 presentations.
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.)