Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

Courses

Art History

Spring 2019: ARTS OF AFRICA

Call Number: 
10976
Points: 
3
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
MW 4:10pm-5:25pm
Instructor: 
Zoe S Strother

Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, photography, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity.


Contemporary Civilization and Literature Humanities

Spring 2019: AFRICAN CIVILIZATION

Call Number: 
21012
Points: 
4
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
TR 10:10am-12:00pm
Instructor: 
Elleni Zeleke

This course provides a general introduction to some of the key intellectual debates in Africa by Africans through primary sources, including scholarly works, political tracts, fiction, art, and film. Beginning with an exploration of African notions of spiritual and philosophical uniqueness and ending with contemporary debates on the meaning and historical viability of an African Renaissance, this course explores the meanings of ‘Africa' and ‘being African.' Field(s): AFR*. NO FIRST YEAR STUDENTS PERMITTED.


History Courses

Spring 2019: AFRICA AND FRANCE

Call Number: 
26541
Points: 
4
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
M 2:10pm-4:00pm
Instructor: 
Gregory Mann

Prerequisites: reading knowledge of French is highly encouraged. This course endeavors to understand the development of the peculiar and historically conflictual relationship that exists between France, the nation-states that are its former African colonies, and other contemporary African states. It covers the period from the 19th century colonial expansion through the current ‘memory wars’ in French politics and debates over migration and colonial history in Africa. Historical episodes include French participation in and eventual withdrawal from the Atlantic Slave Trade, emancipation in the French possessions, colonial conquest, African participation in the world wars, the wars of decolonization, and French-African relations in the contexts of immigration and the construction of the European Union. Readings will be drawn extensively from primary accounts by African and French intellectuals, dissidents, and colonial administrators. However, the course offers neither a collective biography of the compelling intellectuals who have emerged from this relationship nor a survey of French-African literary or cultural production nor a course in international relations. Indeed, the course avoids the common emphasis in francophone studies on literary production and the experiences of elites and the common focus of international relations on states and bureaucrats. The focus throughout the course is on the historical development of fields of political possibility and the emphasis is on sub-Saharan Africa. Group(s): B, C Field(s): AFR, MEU

Spring 2019: Introduction to African History: 1700 – Present

Call Number: 
BC1760
Points: 
Description This course is a general survey of African history from the 18th century to the contemporary period. Through lectures, readings, screenings, and class discussions we will explore six major themes in African History: Africa and the Making of th
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
T/Th 11:40 – 12:55

This course is a general survey of African history from the 18th century to the contemporary period. Through lectures, readings, screenings, and class discussions we will explore six major
themes in African History: Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World, Colonialism in Africa, the 1940s, Nationalism and Independence Movements, Post-Colonialism in Africa, and Issues in
the Making of Contemporary Africa.


International Affairs

Spring 2019: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE EASTERN DRC

Section: 
001
Call Number: 
80529
Points: 
1
Location: 
324 International Affairs Building
Day/Time: 
F 1:00pm-5:00pm S 10:00am-2:00pm
Instructor: 
Dennis Dijkzeul

Over the past decades, perhaps no area of the world has seen such violent transformations and complex conflicts as Africa's Great Lakes Region. This 1-credit course focuses on the conflicts and humanitarian assistance in two Eastern Congolese provinces, Kivu Sud and Kivu Nord. Extrapolations based on IRC studies estimate an excess mortality in Eastern DR Congo of over 4 million people out of a total population of about 20 million over the last twenty years. The neighboring countries of DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda all play a role in this conflict. Moreover, they have also endured their own forms of traumatic upheaval and are still searching for a form of stability. This course asks why these conflicts endured for so long? What are the root causes? What happens when a state bureaucracy breaks down? What happens to the health care and educational systems? Can solutions be found? What is the role of the humanitarian organizations vis-à-vis the local population, civil society, and the local administration?

Spring 2019: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS & CITIZENSHIP IN AFRICA

Call Number: 
Number 11697
Points: 
3
Location: 
418 International Affairs Building
Day/Time: 
M 11:00am-12:50pm
Instructor: 
Jinny K Prais

This course focuses on social movements and citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa to examine how people form political and social movements and deploy citizenship strategies within social, historical, and economic structures that are both local and global. It draws on readings and lectures from scholars in history, political science, anthropology, sociology, and African studies to explore the following topics and themes: histories and theories of social movements and citizenship; cities and social movements and citizenship; citizenship outside the nation-state; social movements and democracy; citizenship as a creative enterprise that emphasizes claim-making and improvisation; citizenship within imperial, international, and national contexts; infrastructures, claim-making, and coalition building; opposition, leadership and democracy; and social movements of African youth and women. This course features guest lectures by and discussions with French and American scholars from Sciences-Po, Universite Paris 1, NYU, and Columbia, and is part of the Joint African Studies Program (JASP) at the Institute of African Studies that is supported by the Partnership University Fund (PUF) and the French Alliance Program at Columbia. It includes foundational readings on concepts, theories, and histories of social movements and citizenship in Africa as well as in-depth case studies on selective themes by various experts working on sub-Saharan Africa. It is unique insofar as it offers a strong foundation in social movements and citizenship while exposing students to in-depth case studies by leading experts working in a variety of disciplines and geographical contexts. All lectures and discussions are conducted in English.


Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Spring 2019: LITERATURE&CULTURES OF STRUGGLE IN South Africa

Section: 
001
Call Number: 
68159
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
MW 2:40pm-3:55pm
Instructor: 
MW 2:40pm-3:55pm

Generations of resistance have shaped contemporary life in South Africa -- in struggles against colonialism, segregation, the legislated racism known as apartheid, and the entrenched inequalities of the post-apartheid era. Two constants in this history of struggle have been youth as a vanguard of liberation movements and culture as a "weapon of struggle." As new generation of South African youth -- the "born frees" -- has now taken to the streets and social media to "decolonize" the university and claim their education as a meaningful right, this course traces the ways that generations of writers, artists, and activists have faced censorship, exile, and repression in an ongoing struggle to dismantle apartheid and to free the mind, "the most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor" according to Black Consciousness activist Steve Biko. This course traces the profoundly important roles that literature and other cultural production (music, photography, film, comics, Twitter hashtags like #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall) have played in struggle against apartheid and its lingering afterlife. Although many of our texts were originally written in English, we will also discuss the historical forces, including nineteenth-century Christian missions and Bantu Education, as well as South Africa's post-1994 commitment to being a multilingual democracy, that have shaped the linguistic texture of South African cultural life.

Spring 2019: Rethinking Freedom in Africa

Call Number: 
27347
Points: 
4
Location: 
TBD
Day/Time: 
W 4:10pm-6:00pm
Instructor: 
Elleni Zeleke

Through the study of a set of key theoretical and fictional texts that range from the late 1960s to the present we will attempt to understand the “pitfalls of national consciousness” within historically existing African emancipatory projects. The texts that we will read will help us comprehend the nature of race, racism, ethnicity, and class struggle within the struggle for African freedom. Overall, the course will unfold in four sequences. In the first sequence we will examine the new debates that have emerged from within the Afro-pessimist literature. Here we will be concerned with the assertion within this body of writing about the impossibility of a collective African emancipatory project in this world. Secondly, because the Afro-pessimist literature is primarily concerned with rethinking freedom in Africa through Frantz Fanon, the course will then turn to the most recent secondary literature on Fanon from Africa (broadly conceived). Our objective here is twofold: to stage a debate regarding stakes between this secondary literature and the Afro-pessimist literature and to pose the question more generally of what it has meant to think of freedom from within Africa. The third sequence of the course will then turn to a rereading of classic texts associated with African emancipatory projects including the writings of Fanon, Amìlcar Cabral, and Steve Biko as a way to ground our thinking within these debates. Lastly, we will turn to the novels of Ben Okri so as to potentially identify and rethink the limits of contemporary debates about the prospects for freedom in Africa today.


Other Departments

Spring 2019: ON AFRICAN THEORY: RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY

Call Number: 
78781
Points: 
4
Location: 
101 80 Claremont Ave
Day/Time: 
M 10:10am-12:00pm
Instructor: 
Mohamed Ait Amer Meziane

What is African Theory? Is a theory African simply because it is rooted in the political present of the continent? Is it African because it corresponds to an African cultural singularity or simply because his authors and inventors come from or live in Africa? This class will examine some central aspects of both African and Africana philosophy. We will study a) how religious traditions shape African theory b) how the influence of colonial anthropology on concepts of African culture and tradition can be challenged c) how African theory relates to African politics of decolonization, in North and "subsaharan" Africa. The major dialectical problem we will examine during the class is the ongoing contradiction between claims of authenticity and demands of liberation, traditionalism and modernism, religion and secularism, culturalism and Marxism.


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