Course Spotlight: Interdepartmental Seminar in African Studies

Course Description

“Call to the Initiation” (Photo by Jan Vansina, 1954, courtesy of Africa Focus – UW Digital Collections)

This new graduate seminar provides a setting for participants to consider Africa – as an idea, a field of study, a place in the world, a subject for teaching –  from a multi-disciplinary perspective.  It is available to graduate students as African Cultural Studies 983, Anthropology 983, Economics 983, Geography 983, History 983, or Political Science 983.  The course will explore a variety of themes and topics in order to consider not just what to think about the history, cultures, and politics of Africa but also how to think and teach about this part of the world.  We will consider the benefits and drawbacks of an area studies orientation in scholarship and teaching, the multiple meanings and varying expectations associated with working as an “Africanist” in academia, and the ways in which these meanings and expectations might differ according to discipline and the location of institutions of higher education.  In other words, we will both focus on the state of scholarship on Africa in various disciplines and also consider how to approach teaching about Africa – course design, the development of syllabi, the use of digital technologies, etc. –  from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Please contact Professor Kodesh ( for permission to enroll.

Course Details

Africa 983: Interdepartmental Seminar in African Studies
3 credits
Thursday, 1:20-3:15
Fall 2018

About the Instructor

Neil Kodesh is an historian of East Africa with a particular emphasis on the Great Lakes region. His research and teaching interests center on medical history, historical anthropology, and multidisciplinary methodologies for writing African history.  His book, Beyond the Royal Gaze: Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda, won the Melville Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association.

Interested in having your Fall 2018 course featured in an African Studies Course Spotlight? Email Kyra Fox at