HSTRY 494-B, Historiography Seminar: Imagining Africa
What ideas come to mind when you are asked to imagine “Africa”? From ancient times to the present, Africa has occupied a complex and ambiguous place in understandings and ideas about humanity and the world. The continent has figured as a totality embodying darkness, a wild and idyllic Eden, a place outside of History, an anchor of modern notions of race—to name just a few of the many ways the Western world has deployed Africa as an idea. In this seminar we will research imaginings and representations of Africa across varied mediums, with the aim of producing an informed account of how these have changed over time, what meanings they hold, and what they reveal of the social constructedness of Western knowledge about Africa. In other words, our work will produce an understanding of “Africa” as an idea that is central to Western modernity.
This course is offered via remote learning with an asynchronous option. For students who choose to attend them, synchronous Zoom sessions will take place on Mondays, 3:00pm-4:50pm PST.