This course introduces African literature, one of the most dynamic and fertile literatures of the 20th and 21st centuries. It features a variety of novels that draw upon traditional cultures as well as European forms, and deploy satiric, realist, and experimental styles to represent African experiences. It may also include poetry and short stories. The course engages with a historical range of literature and considers the political experiences of colonialism, anti-colonial resistance, nationalism, and decolonization as contexts for textual production. We will also explore such issues as language choice, racial identity, gender construction, and the impact of capitalist globalization, which are central to many African writers and critical commentators.
Students should come away from the course with an understanding of how ideological struggles about national and postcolonial identities continue to inform global literature, and have insight into the shifting dynamics of colonialism and its aftermath. Students are expected to keep up with an intensive reading schedule.