An exciting new area of teaching and research in GSL, the section’s subject offerings in African Studies are geared towards cultivating a critical appreciation of the African continent’s cultural diversity, and of its implication in and contribution to global social, political, and cultural phenomena. With 54 countries, an estimated two to three thousand spoken languages, and a population of 1.2 billion, the African continent represents not only one sixth of the world’s population, but also critical nodes in the global economy. GSL’s African Studies subjects are built on the premise that understanding the workings of history and of contemporary life in Africa is essential for understanding the articulations of power across the globe and for envisioning the future of the planet.
Grounded in the humanities and social sciences, and adopting a cross-cultural perspective, subjects examine the makings of Africa’s place in the world in the contemporary moment. We learn from anthropological and historical scholarship, literary texts, as well as material and visual culture. Placing contemporary events in historical perspective, we consider the makings and workings of power in social life. Students learn to engage critically with ideas from critical readings and individual and group projects, and take away rigorous analytical and theoretical tools with which to interrogate objects, texts, practices, and human interactions.