Course Spotlight: AFRICAN 669 – Itineraries of Africa and the Middle East

Enroll soon! Deadline to enroll is Friday, September 13, 2013.

Course DescriptionImage from Sean Powers' Palm Wine Drinker Shadow Puppet Theatre

Depending on whom you ask, Ameen Rihani may have been a writer with excellent knowledge of Middle Eastern geography, or he may have been a U.S. spy who happened to write books. Teju Cole, who has emerged as one of the most important new writers of city life and the African Diaspora, has in the past year waded into the issues of Barack Obama’s drone strikes and the contradictions of being “Reader in Chief.” In other words, literature, geography, and politics run into one another a great deal, with spectacular results.

In this course we will examine travel and distinct cultures of travel, in literature from the Fertile Crescent to Africa and the Diaspora. What figures of the traveler emerge in writing, visual arts, and film? Our sources will include Arabic and sub-Saharan literature and video, European colonial texts, and American fiction dealing with Africa.

Sample readings:
The Palm-Wine Drinkard
Open City
Born Palestinian, Born Black
Sindbad and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights
Ibn Battuta in Black Africa
Heart of Darkness

Enrollment details

African Languages & Literature 669, Section 3
3 credits
Tu/Th 5:00-6:15 PM, Van Hise 382
Professor Samuel England, Department of African Languages & Literature

About the instructor

Samuel England is Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His main interests are Classical Arabic poetry and adab, as well as Romance-language lyric of Iberia. He teaches Classical and modern Arabic literature, and is currently working on a book manuscript comparing the court cultures of the late ‘Abbasid Empire and thirteenth-century Castile.