Summer Course Offerings in African Studies Program

Course Spotlight: Nonviolence and Social Change in Africa  

Course Details 

INTL ST 401: Nonviolence and Social Change in Africa 



Summer 2021 (June 14 – July 9) 

From Gandhi’s initial experiments in satyagraha in South Africa, nonviolence has become a fundamental component of protest politics worldwide. From the Occupy movements to the Arab Spring, nonviolence seems to be entering a new phase of revitalization. This course seeks to acquaint students with the theory and practice of active nonviolence as a method of social change and a way of life. Students will analyze various readings, films, experiential activities, and discussions to develop the understanding and skills for practicing and promoting nonviolent action. The course aims to sharpen our understanding of nonviolence as practical politics—as tactics, techniques, strategies that mobilize and channel popular protest in constructive directions. We will examine the evolution of M.K. Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King’s political thinking in relation to political experience and practice and how the theory and practice of nonviolence was transformed as it moved from one context to another. Our aim will be to use this material to critically analyze the politics of nonviolence and develop skills for deploying nonviolent strategies in political campaigns.

 Sample Readings  

Gene Sharp, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice Century Potential (Porter Sargent Publishers). 

Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (Metropolitan Books). 

M.K. Gandhi, Nonviolent Resistance (Satyagraha) (Dover). 

Martin Luther King, Jr, A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches, ed. James Washington (Harper). 

About the Instructor 

Vincent Ogoti is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of African Cultural Studies, where he is completing a dissertation on “Performing Violence in East African Drama.” He earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and he was also a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University’s Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies.  


Course Spotlight: Africa, the Environment, and the Global Economy

Course Details 

INTL ST 402: Africa, the Environment, and the Global Economy

3-4 Credits 


Summer 2021 (July 12 – August 8) 

This course draws on different intellectual traditions – sociology, political science, history, economics, anthropology, geography, and science and technology studies – to examine how Africa and issues related to the environment can be understood in the global economy. Topics explored may include: environment and health; the built environment and cities; energy; extractive industries; commodity chains; food systems and agriculture; soil and land; “waste” and waste management; environmental degradation; capitalism and environmental violence; posthumanism, indigeneity, and resource use; transnational environmental governance; conservation; climate change and climate (in)justice; environmental imagery, imagination, and political economy; and environmental futures. We will use scholarly literature, media, photography, documentaries (i.e. “Darwin’s Nightmare”), comics, and music/music videos to think analytically about questions in African and International Studies. Who defines what an environmental “problem” is? Who benefits and who does not from an environmental problem or the proposed solution(s) to an environmental issue? Whose perspective(s) are we seeing and missing? This course is intended for advanced undergraduates; no prior International Studies or African Studies coursework is required.

About the Instructor

Sarah Stefanos is a joint PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She studies natural resource politics and use in emerging economies as well as identit(ies) and entrepreneurship in the African diaspora. Her research to date has focused on Ethiopia and Uganda and attends to questions of globalization, race and ethnicity, indigenous peoples, inequality, migration, investment and entrepreneurship, and development. Sarah’s interdisciplinary scholarship has been supported by the NSF-IGERT program, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the US Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program, the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, and the Wisconsin Energy Institute, among others. She is also the co-founder of W2E Ltd, a waste-to-energy research company in Uganda that specializes in biogas systems and technological/business innovations at the intersection of energy and agriculture.

Course Spotlight: Africa, An Introductory Survey

Course Details 

AFRICAN 277, AFROAMER 277, ANTHRO 277, GEOG 277, HISTORY 277, POLI SCI 277, SOC 277: Africa, An Introductory Survey 

4 Credits 


Summer 2021 (May 24 – July 18) 

African society and culture, polity, and economy in multidisciplinary perspectives from prehistory and ancient kingdoms through the colonial period to contemporary developments, including modern nationalism, economic development, and changing social structure.

About the Instructor 

Martha (Janey) Myers is a History PhD candidate. Her research interests include twentieth-century urban history, South Asian diaspora in Indian Ocean world.