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Teaching Africa

A Guide for the 21st-Century Classroom

Edited by Brandon D. Lundy and Solomon Negash

Publication Year: 2013

Teaching Africa introduces innovative strategies for teaching about Africa. The contributors address misperceptions about Africa and Africans, incorporate the latest technologies of teaching and learning, and give practical advice for creating successful lesson plans, classroom activities, and study abroad programs. Teachers in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences will find helpful hints and tips on how to bridge the knowledge gap and motivate understanding of Africa in a globalizing world.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-17

THIS BOOK AIMS to transform the disparate and often ineffective ways that teachers teach Africa in American higher education and to bridge the knowledge gap between the realities and the perceptions about the continent. By focusing our attention on the tertiary level, we expect to have a direct influence on the overall education, media outlook, and societal impressions of Africa in the United States. Therefore, this book ...

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Part I. Situating Africa: Concurrent-Divergent Rubrics of Meaning

IN PART I of Teaching Africa, “Situating Africa: concurrent-Divergent rubrics of Meaning,” the journey begins, as all must, with preparation. Most sojourners’ initial understanding of any topic is pitted with superficiality and paucity. Students of any size and type must be convinced of the value and necessity of new pursuits in order to fully engage in them. Therefore, it is the educator’s primary task—as a coach, ...

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1 Introducing "Africa"

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pp. 21-26

HOW DO WE introduce our students to “Africa”? Learning and teaching about “Africa” may seem to be an impossible enterprise, but once we acknowledge the limitations of what is practicable in a single semester or less, we can convey useful material in engaging ways. This chapter includes examples of exercises used to introduce students to studying Africa as a concept, a locale, and ...

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2 Africa: Which Way Forward? An Interdisciplinary Approach

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pp. 27-37

This chapter examines an interdisciplinary course titled Africa: Which Way forward?, which focuses on the African continent’s contemporary development challenges and successes. explorations of current, often sensational, issues, such as Somali piracy, desertification, or the HIV/AIDS scourge, offer students familiar points of entry for further exploration, which are then historicized in order to identify their often deeply ...

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3 Why We Need African History

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pp. 38-52

WHILE THERE ARE a whole host of politically correct and culturally sensitive reasons why most college history departments in the United States should offer African history, there are also very important reasons why African history is vital during this most recent age of ecological destruction and “supercapitalism” (Reich 2007).1 African history is essential to developing a new view of the United States’ place in the world, as ...

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4 Answering the "So What" Question: Making African History Relevant in the Provincial College Classroom

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pp. 53-60

SO WHAT? WHY is this important? The majority of scholars teaching in academia have spent the better part of their careers pursuing and justifying these questions. As teachers of African History, too few spend time in class answering or even justifying the “so what” question for students. From a personal standpoint, this is forgivable. Scholars have studied the continent and understand how its history and cultures fit into a global ...

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5 From African History to African Histories: Teaching Interdisciplinary Method, Philosophy, and Ethics through the African History Survey

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pp. 61-69

This chapter demonstrates that in the context of the end of apartheid, South African educators were pressed to critically examine how they taught history. In this historical moment, some South African educators adopted a methodology meant to move students away from the kinds of universal narratives about the past promoted by apartheid reasoning and into critical analyses that acknowledged multiple, coexisting ...

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6 Treating the Exotic and the Familiar in the African History Classroom

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pp. 70-75

IN 1978, THE FIRST edition of Philip Curtin et al.’s African History: From Earliest Times to Independence (1995[1978]:xiii) was published in acknowledgment of African history’s new place within the Western academy and with the aim of presenting this scholarly maturity to undergraduates. Implicit in the authors’ stated purpose for the text was a realization that knowledge of Africa’s past ...

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7 Postcolonial Perspectives on Teaching African Politics in Wales and Ireland

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pp. 76-89

CALIBAN'S REBELLION AGAINST Prospero in Shakespeare’s final play raises questions of language, race, colonialism, power, and resistance, which have a direct relevance for the teaching of African politics. While the postcolonial context of the United Kingdom and Ireland is very different from that of North America, central themes of race, language, and political responsibility have an inescapable importance wherever ...

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8 Pan-Africanism: The Ties That Bind Ghana and the United States

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pp. 90-97

This chapter explores intellectual, political, and sociocultural exchanges between Ghanaian nationalists and African Americans. Focusing on the similarities and interconnections between the peoples of Ghana and the diaspora, the chapter offers a historical analysis of events leading to Ghanaian and American independence and links such events to other world historical processes. I look at similarities in the martyrdom of ..

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9 The Importance of the Regional Concept: The Case for an Undergraduate Regional Geography Course of Sub-Saharan Africa

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pp. 98-103

THE REGIONAL CONCEPT in geography and outside the discipline has been promoted, criticized, or completely abandoned over the past century. Its importance within geography should appear evident, but certain geographic scholars see it as outdated and others see it as simply flawed (Eliot-Hurst 1985; Gilbert 1988; Kimble 1951; Pudup 1988; Schaefer 1953). Outside the discipline of geography, proponents of globalization make ...

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10 Teach Me about Africa: Facilitating and Training Educators toward a Socially Just Curriculum

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pp. 104-111

Chairman Edusei (2009) echoes the comments and experiences of the Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) scholars who began developing the African Summer Institute for Teachers (AFSI) during the fall of 2003. The African and African American faculty at NEIU sought to create an opportunity that would equip educators in K–12 environments with accurate knowledge and skills to explore the topic “Teaching ...

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Part II. African Arts: Interpreting the African "Text"

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pp. 113-127

AS ADVOCATED THROUGHOUT the first part of Teaching Africa, establishing a context for learning about Africa builds a necessary base, without which, the subsequent knowledge structure would crumble. The second leg of the pedagogical journey, “feeling/heart,” is about pushing beyond acquiring knowledge. In terms of scientific inquiry, observations and descriptions should now start to give way to more ...

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11 Inversion Rituals: The African Novel in the Global North

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pp. 115-127

I draw the chapter title from the Zulu inversion rituals of the 1930s, in which women during times of seasonal dearth assumed male roles: seizing the power to suppress men, to dress like them, and to take over their herding responsibilities (Gluckmann 1935). The modern African novel itself functions as a kind of inversion ritual: it provokes a radical, mind-shifting experience for Western readers. African novelists counter the ...

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12 Teaching Africa through a Comparative Pedagogy: South Africa and the United States

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pp. 128-139

WHAT SOUTH AFRICAN poet Andries Walter Oliphant articulates in “The Struggle of the Two Souths” (1992) is the potential for comparative understanding that can be gained when placing South Africa and the United States side by side. Reading his own nation’s experiences of racial persecution from the perspective of civil rights, Oliphant reaches the conclusion ...

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13 Stereotypes, Myths, and Realities Regarding African Music in the African and American Academy

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pp. 140-155

For several years, the University of Georgia’s African Students Association has hosted an “African Night.” The occasion, managed by students who are recent immigrants or first-generation Africans, usually features a fashion show, a dance routine, and a play. The play typically addresses students’ transitions into college and American life. In 2009 and 2010, the plot involved a male who relocated to ...

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14 What Paltry Learning in Dumb Books! Teaching the Power of Oral Narrative

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pp. 156-162

THE ANCIENT KINGDOMS of West Africa thrived from the 4th to the 16th centuries, passing power from Ghana to Mali to Songhai for over a thousand years. Though these medieval empires were distinct, they oversaw a region of people with common ancestry and shared cultural practices. One role that runs through these various empires and centuries is the community historian or storyteller, the “griot” as the French ...

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15 Teaching about Africa: Violence and Conflict Management

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pp. 163-168

MANY AFRICAN WRITERS have addressed the rule of tyranny and violence in postcolonial Africa in their work. Attempts to teach about this literature of violence in Africa can be a challenge for any academic, especially when working with undergraduate students who may or may not have had some prior exposure to African writers or the literature of Africa in particular. Working in interdisciplinary teaching teams can be one ...

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16 Contextualizing the Teaching of Africa in the 21st Century: A Student-Centered Pedagogical Approach to Demystify Africa as the "Heart of Darkness"

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pp. 169-178

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN American universities, including my first encounter with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1999[1902]), led me to reexamine my role as an African in the West and subsequently as a professor of French and Francophone literatures and cultures. Despite advances in technology and the growing role of the media in attempting to present Africa in a more sophisticated ...

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Part III. Application of Approaches: Experiencing African Particulars

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pp. 179-189

PART III OF Teaching Africa concludes the journey by deplaning the reader at the final destination, learning experiences that actively engage him or her to participate in his or her own education. In this final section, a leap is made from theory into practice. In six chapters, authors portray their involvements in fashioning social activism ...

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17 Shaping U.S.-Based Activism toward Africa: The Role of a Mix of Critical Pedagogies

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pp. 181-194

AN INFLUX OF American students traveling to study or volunteer in Africa and other regions of the global South (Grusky 2000; Panosian and Coates 2006; Parker and Dautoff 2007; Roberts 2006), the success of several Hollywood films set in Africa (e.g., Blood Diamond [Zwick 2006], The Constant Gardner [Meirelles 2005], Hotel Rwanda [George 2005], and The Last King of Scotland [Macdonald 2006]), and celebrity philanthropy performed for Africa-related causes by Bono, Angelina Jolie, and Oprah ...

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18 The Model AU as a Pedagogical Method of Teaching American Students about Africa

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pp. 195-201

THE MODEL AFRICAN Union (hereafter referred to as the Model AU) is an annual convention in which students from many American colleges and universities meet for three days in Washington, D.C., to discuss and vote on resolutions that address major challenges in Africa. Students learn the role, structure, and performance of the African Union (AU) while searching for solutions ...

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19 The Kalamazoo/Fourah Bay College Partnership: A Context for Understanding Study Abroad with Africa

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pp. 202-210

ACCORDING TO STATISTICS compiled by the Institute of International Education, U.S. students studying abroad in Africa represented just 4.5 percent of the global total (Open Doors 2010). Why do so few students choose to study in Africa? Rather than generalize about study abroad to Africa, this chapter examines the particular context and experience of Kalamazoo College’s study abroad program with Fourah ...

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20 Teaching Culture, Health, and Political Economy in the Field: Ground-Level Perspectives on Africa in the 21st Century

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pp. 211-224

Early in the 21st century, Africa is more intimately connected to transnationally circulating forces of political economy than at any time in the past. Africa has been tied to such forces throughout history, of course, as both a contributor and a recipient of cultural movements, commodities, and technologies, and some Africanists rightly warn that the enticing models of “globalization” can mask such ...

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21 Beyond the Biologic Basis of Disease: Collaborative Study of the Social and Economic Causation of Disease in Africa

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pp. 225-239

On a dry, hot Friday afternoon in January 2010 in northern Uganda, medical students from Uganda, Holland, and the United States gathered in a large circle and reflected on Paul Farmer’s book Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (2005). Excitedly, the students shared inspirations, critiques, and real-life experiences in response to the issues raised by the book. ...

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22 Educating the Educators: Ethiopia's IT Ph.D. Program

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pp. 240-252

HIGHER EDUCATION WAS willfully neglected in Africa during the late 20th century (Bloom et al. 2006). In the 1980s, African government officials with limited budgets argued that social returns on primary and secondary education were substantially higher than the returns on tertiary education (Colclough 1980; Psacharopoulos 1980). The “Washington Consensus” is a phrase that describes a set of policies “aligned with ...

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Conclusion: Knowledge Circulation and Diasporic Interfacing

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pp. 253-256

... First, we as scholars have to keep extending the frontier of knowledge, use our resources to transform scholarship in and about Africa, and ensure that our studies also inform mainstream scholarship. We must be fully inserted into all the mainstream knowledge systems and must struggle to be at the center. While we should continue to support area studies, we have to understand their limitations in academies that use the universalism ...


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pp. 257-282


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pp. 283-294


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pp. 295-299

E-ISBN-13: 9780253008299
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253008152

Page Count: 308
Illustrations: 7 maps
Publication Year: 2013