Teaching "Introduction to African Studies" [Roundtable]
Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig)
Amanda Hammar (Copenhagen University)
Language and Literature
David Hume, Lecture Theatre A
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

Most African Studies programmes have some form of introductory module that tries to map African Studies as a particular field. This roundtable aims to share and examine key questions, experiences and challenges arising from the teaching of 'Introduction to African Studies'.

Long abstract:

Most African Studies programmes have some form of introductory module. With students often coming from different disciplinary backgrounds and with diverse understandings and expectations of what constitutes African Studies, the aim is to map out the history and contemporary parameters of the field, including current debates and views as to what African Studies is, can, or should be. Such introductory courses hinge on opening up critical ways of thinking about and studying Africa, and Africa in the world, rather than narrowing the boundaries of African Studies. This roundtable brings together colleagues who are already teaching such introductory modules (or have done so in the recent past) to explore the frame-setting potential of such modules. Questions to be addressed may include: How does the changing place of Africa in the world influence how we situate and introduce African Studies? How do we deal with the history of African Studies alongside new challenges and expectations for the field, such as those emerging from decolonisation movements? What is the transformative potential of an introductory module in African Studies for individual students or perhaps for an entire programme of studies? How do we address student communities with different backgrounds? What literature and pedagogical methods have worked particularly well for us (and what went horribly wrong)? Roundtable panelists are Elisio Macamo (Basel), Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Leipzig), Kole Odutola (Florida), Lisa Mbuli (African Leadership Academy), David Ehrhardt (Leiden).