African 700: Reading and Writing African Cultural Studies

Fall 2018

Samuel England
3 credits
Thursday 4-6pm

This course tries to sort out the messy terrain of Cultural Studies as a formal discipline, and to establish a useful working vocabulary on Africa. How do we chart the rise and fall of “Cultural Studies” in the United Kingdom, so that we might work on African topics without being unnecessarily burdened by the label? The seminar begins by surveying scholarly exchanges between anthropologists and social scientists on African cultures, then we will move to cultural products themselves. Considering markets for culture, and their emergence in modern Africa, will enable us to see how art producers turn capitalism into allegory, e.g., María Nsué Angüe’s remarks about a fictional community breaking apart, each member competing with the other: “no one wants to be left behind and each one wants what is due.” As the semester progresses, students will complete regular written assignments and present their independent work to colleagues.