Africa Through Literature

David Amponsah
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

This course introduces students to issues in African history, cultures, geography, politics through literature. We will focus on the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial eras. Popular representations of Africa in North America and Europe are marked by a reductionist and stereotyped image of African creativity, if not by the absence of creative expression altogether.

Our first task, then, will be to critically assess the all-too-common framing of Africa as continent of conflict, disease, disasters, and poverty. How do African writers represent themselves, their continent -- its beauty and its challenges -- and their experiences? This course seeks to provide students with points of entry for answering this important question by examining some of the forces at play in the various ways African authors have portrayed the continent.