Universität Wien FIND

140357 KU African Literature and the Anthropology of the Other (2017S)

Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung



max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Montag 08.05. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 15.05. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 22.05. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 29.05. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 12.06. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 19.06. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06
Montag 26.06. 10:00 - 13:00 Inst. f. Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 2 UniCampus Hof 5 2M-O1-06


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Course Description:
As a political practice, the literary production and consumption of culture was significant to the history of nationalism and identity formation in Europe, especially in the later part of the 17th and early 18th centuries when nations emerged as discursive categories. Providing the growing readership in Europe with stories of the other, it was not long before the art of voyeurism became a routine part of its mode of articulating cultures of people that were different. By the late 17th century, the print culture had generated the idea of the foreign as a category of literary spectacle, and was later established as a trope. Nowhere was this literary tradition better articulated than in the literary tradition that is now referred to as the African romance novel. As Edward Said once put it, the image of other became consistent with itself in the popular imagination in Europe at the time and remained unchallenged. The construction of racial hierarchy was central to this genre of European literature and colonialism was the off-shot of its practice. As part of the other that became formal colonial subjects in the late 18th century, the Anglophone writer emerged in the earlier part of the 20th century to challenge the assumption of colonial race theory that promoted colonialism. And the primary goal was to point to the inconsistencies of colonial race theory, denouncing colonialism as inhuman, wicked and frightful. The African writer then saw it fit to write-back to African romance texts such as Sanders of the River, Zulu, King Solomon’s Mine, Heart of Darkness and Mister Johnson. This course tracks the intellectual history of anthropological Africa, tracing its construction and validation in the popular imagination which the African romance text generated in Europe in the 18th century. Focusing on Anglophone African literature and using a selected number of the African romance texts as well as the films made out of them, students will be introduced to the complex connection between the rise of British nationalism, race discourse and classism that later defined the colonial project in British West Africa. Special attention will be given to the ways in which abstract categories are deployed in the romance novels to appeal to the British public to support the “civilization” mission of colonialism. Making the point that the modern Anglophone African came out of this history, the course will also study some African canonical texts, critically examining their literary strategies of resistance to race ideas inscribed in the African romance texts.
Course Goals:
This course is designed to fulfil two primary goals: to introduce students to a different way of reading European texts, especially Anglophone European text of the 18 and 19th century, which focus on telling stories about Africa and to interrogate the politics and philosophical disposition that led to the African response to African romance texts. The connections between the two categories of texts are obvious but not the ideological promise that gave birth to them. Students will study a least one example from each category of both literary traditions, focusing on the contexts that produced them and the uses for which they were put at the time they became fashionable texts. Students are also likely to see a number of films based on the literary texts of the African romance novels but the critical focus will be on the literary texts. Theoretically, the course will conflate the ideas of three prominent non-European critics and theorists-Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Chinua Achebe. Using a small body of classical African texts of the 20th century, students will be directed to read Africa from Africans reading the Africa in African romance texts.
Teaching Methods:
Teaching will be based on formal lectures, guided class discussions based on specific topics, screenings and snap-writing responses.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Students are required to submit two essays of different lengths by the end of class on June 30. A minimum of 850 words is suggested for the first essay, which will be submitted anytime during the first week of the semester and 1500 words for the second essay, which is due on June 26.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Assessment for this course will be based on attendance, on the two essays and on class participation. Grading of the essays will be based on coherence of argument and textual interpretation and not on the position taken in any of the class debate. Since the class will be conducted in English, it is prudent for students to have a fine understanding of written and spoken English. There will be no examination for this course.



Class Texts:
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1958.
Coetzee, JM. Disgrace. London: Macmillan, 1970.
Soyinka, Wole. Death and the King’s Horseman. Norton Edition, 2002.
Fugard, Athol. “Master Harold…” and the Boys. London: Penguin Books, 1982.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Toronto: Broadview Press, 1999.
Wallace, Edgar. Sanders of the River. London: Echo Library Edition, 2012.

Critical Texts:
Marcus, E George and Michael M. J Fischer. Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Movement in the Human Sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.
Mukhopadhyay, Carol C and Yolanda T, “Reestablishing "Race" in Anthropological Discourse,” American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 99, No. 3 (Sep., 1997):http://www.jstor.org/stable/681740.
Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”
Gikandi, Simon, “African Literature and the Colonial Factor,” African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory (Eds: Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson). London: Blackwell, 2007).

Film Texts:
Wallace, Edgar. Sanders of the River (1911)
JM Coetzee. Disgrace (1989)
Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson (1990)
Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis


Letzte Änderung: Mi 01.03.2017 16:08