Course Spotlight: Africa + The Internet

Course Spotlight: Africa + The Internet

i Jun 23rd No Comments by

Course Description

Africa, the continent with the world’s most concentrated poverty, has been the highest adopter of mobile technology for the past 10 years. Africa’s Internet, though hardly reliable, is the world’s primary “mobile first” network, and so leads innovation in ways that are typically ahead of tech development in the U.S. Why is this the case? This upper level course surveys the past 20 years of digital technology on the continent as a whole. Readings also include case study research of micro-tech practices (pinging, social video and mobile money transfer, etc.) as well as political and social use of new media (Arab/African Spring, #bringbackourgirls). Information Technology and Development are key areas of focus in this course, as well as broader social anthropology of Africa. Sites of interest include Anglophone Africa, but also broader African digital publics and events: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and more. Students will be encouraged to think critically about their own technology use, and also develop tools that may be useful for Africa’s media ecology. The coursework includes readings and critical online responses. Students are expected to write 1 major term paper and produce 1 major tech project/prototype. Prior knowledge of coding or Web development is not required.

Enrollment Details

Africa 405: Africa + the Internet: An Introduction to Digital Life on the Continent
Meeting Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30 – 3:45 PM
3 credits

About the Instructor

Dr. Reginold Royston is jointly-appointed in the School of Information (formerly SLIS) and the Department of African Cultural Studies. Dr. Royston’s research interests include New Media and innovation in the African Diaspora. He does ethnographic research in Ghana, the U.S., and the Netherlands, examining Ghana’s digital diaspora. As a researcher, developer and professor of information and technology studies, Dr. Royston has produced and designed dozens of new media apps and campaigns with students and collaborators. Dr. Royston worked for 15 years as a reporter, graphics designer, and cultural critic for Knight Ridder, Village Voice Media, and National Geographic.com. He has been active in community organizations in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Oakland, CA.

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Course Spotlight: Sin and Laughter: Transgressive Arts from Southern Africa to the Middle East

i May 15th No Comments by

Course Description

What’s the best Arab sitcom? How have African ideas of acceptable and unacceptable humor evolved over the history of cosmopolitanism? Where do we find evidence of religious dogma in the tradition of creative humor? What the hell does Dante have to do with African photography? This course will address these questions as we study creative culture in Africa and the Middle East.

Readings, viewings, and screenings will include: Sharif ‘Arafa, Georges Bataille, Adelaide Casely-Hayford, JM Coetzee, Aida Muluneh, Trevor Noah, and Binyavanga Wainaina

PREREQUISITES WILL BE WAIVED FOR ANY STUDENT WITH JUNIOR STANDING; Other students are also welcome to contact instructor for possible waivers: samuel.england@wisc.edu

Enrollment Details

African 405: Sin and Laughter: Transgressive Arts from Southern Africa to the Middle East
3 Credits
Tuesday and Thursday 5:30-6:45
Fall 2017

Sai Mado / The Distant Gaze by Aida Muluneh courtesy of David Krut Projects

About the Instructor

Samuel England is Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He teaches Classical and modern Arabic, Mediterranean cultures, and sub-Saharan African sources. Prof. England writes on Classical Arabic poetry and prose, courts in the Middle East and Europe, Crusades literature, Arab national arts of the past century, and Romance-language treatments of Islam. His first book, currently in press, is Medieval Empires and the Culture of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press).

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Course Spotlight: Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice

i Apr 3rd No Comments by

Course Description

This course will engage students in all aspects of the preparation of an exhibition for the Chazen Museum of Art or other exhibition spaces on campus. Students will help conceptualize the exhibition and its layout, research and interpret individual objects, prepare wall texts for the display and other materials published in print or online in conjunction with the exhibition.

Enrollment Details

Art History 506: Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice
3 credits
Monday 4:30-6:30PM
Fall 2017

Photo by Henry Drewal.

About the Instructor

Born and raised in Brooklyn and Hempstead, NY, Henry John Drewal received his BA from Hamilton College majoring in French and minoring in Fine Arts. After graduation he joined the Peace Corps, taught French and English, and organized arts camps in Nigeria. During his two years in Nigeria he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor – a transformative experience that led him to interdisciplinary studies at Columbia University in African art history and culture, receiving two Masters’ degrees and a PhD in 1973.

Since 1991 he has been the Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. He has published several books, edited volumes, exhibition catalogues, and many articles on African and African Diaspora arts. As Adjunct Curator of African Art at the Chazen Museum of Art of UW-Madison, he curated the permanent African art gallery there, and most recently – Double Fortune, Double Trouble: Art for Twins among the Yoruba at the Fowler Museum-UCLA. He has also produced a number of films documenting African and African Diaspora arts, and lectured widely on these topics (see his website).

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Course Spotlight: African Art and Architecture

i Mar 10th No Comments by

Course Description

This course examines the rich heritage of African arts and architecture as they shape and have been shaped by the histories and cultural values (social, political, religious, philosophical, and aesthetic) of African peoples, both past and present, on the continent where humanity — and art — began. Topics include: artists and creative process; an historical overview of five major traditions (26,000 BCE to 1900 CE); textiles, decorative, and body arts; architecture; and contemporary expressions. Museum visits, artists’ demonstrations, and films supplement the course. Requirements include 1 short paper (analysis of an African art object); mid-term exam; 2 Africa-related event reviews; and final exam. Extra-credit arts-related projects are encouraged, and an African arts festival concludes the semester.

An artist with his shrine mural in Benin. (Photo by Henry Drewal)

Enrollment Details

Afro-American Studies/Art History 241: Introduction to African Art and Architecture
3 credits
Monday/Wednesday 2:30-3:45PM
Fall 2017

About the Instructor

Born and raised in Brooklyn and Hempstead, NY, Henry John Drewal received his BA from Hamilton College majoring in French and minoring in Fine Arts. After graduation he joined the Peace Corps, taught French and English, and organized arts camps in Nigeria. During his two years in Nigeria he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor – a transformative experience that led him to interdisciplinary studies at Columbia University in African art history and culture, receiving two Masters’ degrees and a PhD in 1973.

Since 1991 he has been the Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. He has published several books, edited volumes, exhibition catalogues, and many articles on African and African Diaspora arts. As Adjunct Curator of African Art at the Chazen Museum of Art of UW-Madison, he curated the permanent African art gallery there, and most recently – Double Fortune, Double Trouble: Art for Twins among the Yoruba at the Fowler Museum-UCLA. He has also produced a number of films documenting African and African Diaspora arts, and lectured widely on these topics (see his website).

 

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Course Spotlight: Environmental Studies 402 – Global Indigeneity and Sustainability

i Dec 14th No Comments by

Course Description

Featuring prominent international faculty and researchers from the UW-Madison and other research universities and world. Indigenous leaders and researchers offering weekly presentations about their work with indigenous / aboriginal / native / campesino communities, tribes, and cooperatives in the US and abroad.

Enrollment Details

Environmental Studies 402- Global Indigeneity and Sustainability
Alberto Vargas  (LACIS-IRIS)
Fri 12pm-1:55pm, L150 Education Bldg.
Spring 2017
1 credit

 

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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Course Spotlight: African 300 – Contemporary Arabic Literature and Cinema

i Dec 12th No Comments by

Course Description

This course is an introduction of the most significant topics of contemporary Arabic literature and cinema: the legacies of colonialism, repressive nature of post-independence regimes, discourses on nationalism, religion v. secularization, gender relations, representation of cultural otherness, and the Arab Springs. The course will explore the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts in which texts films are written and exhibited. That said, I would be cautious about understanding this course as a comprehensive “survey” of Arabic literature and cinema: it is more accurately a “sampling.” And because these books and films, and their cultures are fairly unfamiliar, we will move slowly through them, taking time to reflect on our own process of reading.

Sample of literature: A Compass for the Sunflower (Palestine); Season of Migration to the North (Sudan); The Committee (Egypt); Him, Me, Muhammad Ali (Palestinian-American). Sample of movies: The Time That Remains (Palestine); Caramel (Lebanon); Cairo 678 (Egypt); The Yacoubian Building (Egypt).

Enrollment Details

African 300: Contemporary Arabic Literature and Cinema
Professor Névine El Nossery
Tu/Th 11:00-12:15, Van Hise 254
Spring 2017

About the Instructor

Névine El Nossery is an associate professor of French and an associate professor of African Cultural Studies.

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Course Spotlight: Journalism 822 – Theories of International Communication

i Nov 17th No Comments by

Course Description

This seminar focuses on the major theories of international communication, paying closest attention to “global” media technologies, institutions, and practices.

Questions that we will explore:

  • How do we define the “nation,” vs. the “international” vs. the “transnational?” How have scholars historically defined those terms, and how have the definitions changed in the 21st century?marshall_plan_poster
  • What role has propaganda played in international communication, and how have theorists defined propaganda?
  • How have theorists addressed the concepts of international “modernization” and “development?”
  • Can any form of communication ever be truly “global?” What is the history of the term, “global,” and what are some scholarly critiques of that concept?
  • How have media technologies been implicated in/helped to sustain processes of globalization? How have they disrupted this process?
  • How have international communications scholars discussed the question of social identity (eg., race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality)? How do these modes of identification become even more complicated when communities or individuals cross geopolitical borders (either voluntarily or under duress)?

Enrollment Details

Journalism 822: Theories of International Communication
3 credits
Wednesday 9:30AM-12:00PM
Spring 2017

About the Instructor

Lindsay Palmer is an assistant professor of global media ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Course Spotlight: African 405 – Nollywood

i Nov 17th No Comments by

Course Description

Nollywood is the name that Nigerian filmmakers and audiences have adopted for a relatively new film industry, which began in the early 1990s with the emergence of “video films”—that is, feature-length films shot on video and sold in the market for home viewing. This innovation allowed for an explosion of commercial filmmaking, and Nollywood has quickly become the major audio-visual media industry of the African continent. In this course, we will watch a variety of Nollywood films and learn about the aesthetic strategies they tend to feature, how the industry has changed over time, what conditions contributed to its emergence and growth, and what audiences, governments, scholars, and other observers have had to say about it. Students will also be introduced to methods of studying film, as both a form and an industry. A combination of film screenings, readings, lectures, student presentations, and small and large essay projects will offer students the opportunity develops skills for critically thinking about the relationship between motion pictures and society.

Enrollment Details

African 405: Nollywood
(Topics in African Cultural Studies)
Open to undergraduate and graduate students
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:45pm, Van Hise 475

Screeningsdoor_sign-2

Living in Bondage (1992)
Violated (1996)
Owo Blow (1996)
Saworoide (1999)
Igodo: Land of the Living Dead (1999)
Ashes to Ashes (2001)
Apoti Eri (2001)
Aki na Ukwa (2003)
Osuofia in London (2003)
Blood Sister (2003)
The Master (2004)
Jennifa (2008)
This is Nollywood (2009)
The Figurine (2009)
Ijé: The Journey (2010)

About the Instructor

Matthew H. Brown is Assistant Professor of African Cultural Studies. His research covers screen media in Africa—including colonial cinema, celluloid cinema, television, and video film—as well as literature, popular music, and critical cultural theory. He teaches courses on African oral traditions, literature, film, and melodrama. He is currently working on a book about the changing relationships between screens and the spectators they have addressed during the last one hundred years of motion picture exhibition and production in Nigeria.

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Course Spotlight: History 201 – The Historians Craft – History of Humanitarianism

i Nov 17th No Comments by

Course Description

What motivates us to try to alleviate the suffering of people in distant parts of the world? This is one of the questions that threads through this course on the global history of humanitarianism. Students in this course will examine the origins of humanitarian ideas and institutions, and how various humanitarian campaigns have been shaped by geopolitical processes, including the abolition of the slave trade, the spread of missionary Christianity, European imperialism, the Cold War, and economic liberalization.

Questions include: who has benefited from various humanitarian aid campaigns throughout history? How have various humanitarian campaigns shaped, and been shaped by, patterns history-201of global inequality? Why have some populations, and not others, been deemed worthy of the world’s compassion? We will explore the worlds, perspectives and visions of humanitarians through a range of primary sources, including diary entries, memoirs, journalistic reportage, photography, documentary film, and archival sources about Wisconsin-based humanitarian campaigns held in the Wisconsin Historical Society.

This course fulfills the General Education COMM B requirement.  As such, students in this course will develop critical skills in research and writing. They will learn to formulate strong research questions, to find and identity historical sources, to evaluate primary sources, to develop and present an argument, and to communicate research findings effectively.

Enrollment Details

History 201: The Historians Craft – History of Humanitarianism
3-4 credits, undergraduate
Monday & Wednesday, 4:00-5:15 pm
Class Location:  COMP SCI 1325
Spring 2017

About the Instructor

Emily Callaci is an historian of modern East Africa, with a research focus on twentieth century urban Tanzania. She is currently at work on a book about urban migration and cultural politics during Tanzania’s socialist era, from 1967 through 1985. Building on her exploration of the politics of race, decolonization, and sexuality in urban Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, she has begun research for a second project on the transnational history of the family planning movement in twentieth century Africa.

Dr. Callaci’s teaching interests include urban African history, gender and sexuality, popular culture, Islam in Africa, and African intellectual history.

 

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Course Spotlight: The African Postcolony

i Nov 15th No Comments by

Course Description

Malick Sidibé, “Toute la famille en moto,” 1962

Malick Sidibé, “Toute la famille en moto,” 1962

This course will explore the history, theory and ethnography of the African postcolony. What global connections, circuits and migrations have shaped African worlds in the aftermath of empire? What forms of political and economic power have emerged since independence from colonial rule?  How have Africans remembered, represented and grappled with the colonial past, both at the level of high politics and in their everyday lives? What sentiments, solidarities and expressive cultures have become possible in the spaces of the postcolony?

Topics will include:

  • the politics of infrastructure
  • artists and intellectuals in postcolonial Africa
  • NGOS and governmentality
  • Reconfigurations of gender and sexuality in the postcolony
  • the possibilities and pitfalls of “development”
  • the rise of “global health”

Enrollment Details

History 861: The African Post Colony
1-3 credits, graduates or instructor consent
Thursday 11:00am-12:55pm
Spring 2017

About the Instructor

Emily Callaci is an historian of modern East Africa, with a research focus on twentieth century urban Tanzania. She is currently at work on a book about urban migration and cultural politics during Tanzania’s socialist era, from 1967 through 1985. Building on her exploration of the politics of race, decolonization, and sexuality in urban Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, she has begun research for a second project on the transnational history of the family planning movement in twentieth century Africa.

Dr. Callaci’s teaching interests include urban African history, gender and sexuality, popular culture, Islam in Africa, and African intellectual history.

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