ENGL 351(F) Reading Africa: Gender and Sexuality (Same as Comparative Literature 351 and Women's and Gender Studies 351)*
In this class we will explore some of the ways that gender and sexuality are understood, performed, and transformed in Africa. We will begin by thinking about predominant ways of looking at the continent which we must work through: the legacy of colonial conceptions of Africa, the debates over the validity of feminism in Africa, and contemporary Western journalism's "afro-pessimism"-imagining Africa as the site of inevitable horror and disaster, usually figured through the image of the young black man with a gun. How can Africans negotiate these frameworks while also writing honestly about the urgent problems facing contemporary society? We cannot attempt to cover everything going on across this vast continent, but we will analyze some African texts from different locations-novels, short stories, films, photographs, journalism, and music-that offer their own perspectives on women and men, marriage, tradition, and modernity, war, Aids and the city, as well as the emergent structures of feeling produced by new sexual identities, musical forms, and the popular institution of the beauty pageant. Format: discussion/seminar. Requirements: The class will involve a lot of discussion, email responses to the reading, and three papers totaling approximately 20 pages. Prerequisites: one Writing-Intensive course. Enrollment limit: 25 (expected: 15).