Communication and Culture | Topics in Performance and Culture (Topic: Talk, Tales and Television)
C414 | 11775 | Stoeltje, B.
TuTh, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM, SE 010
Meets with ANTH-E 408, ANTH-E 600, FOLK-F 404, and AMST-G 620
Fulfills College A&H Requirement
Instructor: Beverly Stoeltje
Office: SB 130
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
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; 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
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).