African 300: Tales of Love & War

Fall 2019

Luis Madureira
3 credits
TR 9:30-10:45am

Fulfills Literature, Intermediate

The texts we’ll be studying this semester arise from a creative will to bring a new community into being. They are fueled, at the same time, by a desire to undo the destructive legacy of racism and oppression bequeathed by centuries of Portuguese colonial domination. Since, in several instances, this desire led to a protracted armed struggle against the colonial order, these creative expressions are in a sense born out of violence and war. In the case of Angola and Mozambique, the bloodshed, in the form of brutal and devastating civil wars, lasted well into the post-independence period. Thus, by the end of the millennium, the lofty dream of a free, equitable and more just society lay in shambles. Throughout it all, cultural and literary expressions endured as a mode of bearing witness to often unspeakable pain and destruction. In the words of a Mozambican novelist, they remain also as a stubborn reminder that despite the violence, people tenaciously maintained their will to re-invent themselves, to convert the days of blood and horror into the stuff of hope and tenderness, endeavoring to produce order where chaos had entrenched itself, life and beauty where death had spread its mantle of agony and sorrow.

Our cultural area of focus will be Portuguese-speaking Africa, but we’ll also expand our linguistic and geographic horizons to include selected films and texts from Latin America (Cuba and Brazil) as well as Europe.

Materials include:

* Fiction by Paulina Chiziane, Mia Couto, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa, Lília Momplé, Ondjaki, Pepetela, and others

* Selections of Luso-African poetry

* Feature and short films from Angola, Brazil, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Portugal

* Theory and criticism (selections)