Unique People - Diverse Places - Enhanced Opportunities

Director: Gerald Boodo, Center for African Studies


The AFRICA learning community will incorporate classes that emphasize discovering and better understanding the vast continent of Africa. Special attention will be focused on dispelling common misconceptions and assumptions about Africa, African Philosophy, how Africa relates to the rest of the world, and literary constructions of Africa.

The AFRICA Learning Community is comprised of two courses: EQ 104 How to Understand Africa? and PHIL/AFST 209C African Philosophy. The learning community will focus on exploring and understanding the people, places and ideas of the continent to understand the vast diversity of the people on the continent and their philosophies.

Fall 2021 Courses

EQ 104C Do You Know the Real Africa? (TR 10:50am), Gerald Boodoo (African Studies)

How to know the real Africa? It is the second largest continent in terms of size and population and is considered the richest in natural resources. Yet it is the poorest continent, plagued by conflict, the effects of colonization, burdening debt and political instability. In the midst of all these things there continue to be vibrant cultures, religions, music, food and people with an enduring spirit to survive and live well. Our perceptions and knowledge of the continent have been largely accepted by us without critical engagement so we will engage in collaborative research, discussion, and presentations to call attention to the varying ways in which we can re/invent our understandings of the continent.
Reality Check: Africa is not a Country
What Wildest Dreams Gets Wrong About Africa
10 Myths About Africa
The Real Africa: Fight the Stereotype

PHIL/AFST 209C African Philosophy (TR 1:40pm), Jay Lampert (Philosophy)

We begin with Ancient Egyptian Pyramid texts concerning justice and the soul, cosmogony, and the relations between humans and gods. We then jump up to post-colonial African philosophers (Oruka, Gyekye, Mbiti and others), dealing with such topics as reason and culture, time and destiny, witchcraft and aesthetics, religion and modernism, ethics and community, politics and the philosophy of history. Some of these concepts have a long history in Africa, like Desmond Tutu's discussion of ubuntu ("I am because we are"). We then move to Fanon's great work, The Wretched of the Earth, which engages with the struggle for independence of African nations: politically, economically, existentially, aesthetically, and psychologically. We then look at some influences of African thought on African-American philosophies, such as Asante's "Afrocentrism" and Appiah's "Cosmopolitanism". Finally, we discuss very current ideas, from "Afropessimism" and "Necropolitics" to "Afrofuturism". Current African philosophers (like Mudimbe and Mbembe) are at the forefront of some of the most original and provocative philosophical movements in the world today.
Ancient Egypt: Justice (Ma'at)
Art of Storytelling: clip from the film Yeelen ("Brightness") by Souleymane Cissé (Mali, 1987)
Frantz Fanon-Struggle for Independence
Afrofuturism, CopperWire, Somalian hiphop (2016)

During September the Center for African Studies will be sponsoring its annual Africa Week events and AFRICA learning community students will be required to attend the speaker presentation during that week. They will also be encouraged to attend the other events during that week which serve to focus on African culture and issues relevant to African Studies. The events will give students avenues outside of the learning community classes to understand the continent.

Faculty will arrange an African styled meal with the students in the learning community at some point during the semester to share perspectives and insights, and to connect at a more informal level.