African 300: Arabic Fiction and Falsehood

Samuel England

3 credits, fulfills Literature requirement

Spring 2018

If pulling off a great prank is a challenge, then profiting from it is an art. Literature, comics, films, and television love to showcase the challenge and the art itself—that’s the topic of African 300. We’ll work with sources ranging from caliphates of the Middle East, to North African drama, to 21st-century animation from Africa and the Diaspora. This course asks how people conspire, beg, steal, and fool each other with creative language. How do we know who’s believable? Are we as critical readers also complicit at times, despite all our analytical efforts? How do characters and literary institutions get people to believe them? What positions do we assume when reading fictional negotiations? When a scam works, or falls apart, who’s responsible – the perpetrators, the dupes, authorities, religion, society?

Authors/materials will include: Leila Aboulela, Mohamed Choukri, Riad Sattouf, Drissa Toure