This course explores the representation of soccer in African film and literature to point out the compelling, complex nature of the game within postcolonial cities and cinema both as a form of leisure fun and as a tool in the politics of resistance. This course pays attention to the brief history of soccer, the politics of solidarity, and the conviviality it produces between the global North and South. Further, the course examines the depiction of soccer as a sport in postcolonial cities as depicted in films and literature from Alegria to South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Students will learn fundamental literary and film analysis while deepening their understanding of the intersection of society, soccer, labor, media technology, modernity, migration, and global capital. In addition, students will gain a deeper understanding of social and political issues via soccer and make sense of contemporary Africans and their own society. The questions that will animate the course include: what does soccer mean for Africans and in Africa? What politics and polemics shape the sport, fandom, and collaboration in soccer? How do Africans navigate emerging restrictions of soccer in specific contexts? Why is “the beautiful” game a fun sporting activity in spaces with limited infrastructure to support it? In sum, it is a road trip to African through soccer in which we will explore how the game influences, and is influenced by, Africa and Africans.
The Belly of the Atlantic, Fatou Diome (A novel, 2017)
The Beautiful Skin: Football, Fantasy, and Cinematic Bodies in Africa, (Vlad Dima, 2020)
The Golden Ball, (Cheick Doukouré, Guinea, 1994)
La Pirogue, (Moussa Toure, Senegal, 2011)
The President, (Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Cameroun, 2011)
Timbuktu, (Abderrahmane Sissako, Mali 2014)