AFST 250A – Introduction to African Studies

Offered Term 1 and Term 2
Instructor: Dr. Kofi J.S. Gbolonyo

(Major cultural, historical and geographical issues of African Studies)

AFST 250 is an introductory course designed to provide students with background information and critical approaches that will enable them to participate in academic discussions and take more advanced courses in the field of African Studies. It will emphasize critical thinking and seek to foster an awareness of the conceptual challenges involved in our attempts to understand the complexities of African Studies.

Syllabus for AFST 250A1 Winter 2019

Syllabus for AFST 250A2 Winter 2019


AFST 351A  – Perspectives in African Studies: Literary and Theoretical Approaches

Offered Term 1
Instructor: Deena Dinat

(Africa and the 21st Century Global Imaginary)

At the beginning of the 21st century, narratives around Africa’s place in the world are largely pre-determined. Stories of exploitation, poverty, health crises and civil war are all too familiar, or are supplemented by ‘inspirational’ tales of development, democracy, and burgeoning trade. Yet both sets of stories tend to ignore the lived reality of Africa, the very thing they attempt to describe, and its place in the world. What does it mean to be “African?” What counts as “African” writing and art? How does “Africa” imagine the world, and how has the world imagined Africa? This course re-examines the complex, interconnected, and generative meanings that are carried by the term Africaand its contemporary and global effects. To study African literature, we will discover, is to encounter specific political, ethical, and cultural relationships to the world – relationships not easily defined by geographic, ethnic and linguistic boundaries.

We will explore how Africa – demographically the world’s “youngest” continent of 54 countries and over a billion people – has been defined by the global imagination for centuries, but also how it has always generated its ownforms of knowledge that have profoundly shaped the world as we know it. Together we will read critical theory on race, gender, cosmopolitanism, and diaspora in our encounters with 21stcentury literature, film, photography and popular culture that emanates from, or reflects on, the continent. We will work through these diverse readings to complicate ideas of African subjectivity, knowledge, and history. From 16thcentury Morocco to the tech-utopia of Wakanda, from the neocolonialism of Drake’s Afro-Caribbean mixtapes to the queer gaze of Zanele Muholi’s camera, we’ll consider how “Africa” provides a lens for engaging the most pressing questions of today, and revolutionary blueprints for the future.

Syllabus for AFST 351A Winter 2019


AFST 352A – Perspectives in African Studies: A Social Science Approach

Offered Term 2
Instructor: Dr. Kofi J.S. Gbolonyo 

This course examines the histories of “Modern Africa,” itself a problematic idea, from 1800 to the present. We will explore themes of African societies and statecraft in the 19th century; colonial conquest, collaboration and resistance; the nature of the colonial state; cultures of gender, ethnicity and work under colonial rule; violent nationalisms, independence and colonial legacies; postcolonial conflict and the crisis of the state. While taking a comprehensive approach, particular attention will be paid to case studies drawn from Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa. History 315, Britain, 1750-1850.

Syllabus for AFST 352A Spring 2019


AFST 450R – African diasporic culture in Canadian society, fostering dialogue with members of African Canadian communities on cultural values, traditions, memory, adaptation and change

Offered Term 2
Instructor: Adam Rudder

This course combines the study of historical evidence of the presence of African diasporic culture in Canadian society, reflection on the notion African diaspora and on various ways in which that notion has been viewed by political and cultural theorists, and the fostering of dialogue with members of African Canadian communities on cultural values, traditions, memory, adaptation and change. Students are encouraged not only to apply their classroom-based learning to their dialogue with members of African Canadian communities but also to challenge theoretical models and preconceived notions through the experience of discussing those models and notions with individuals, families and groups.

Syllabus for AFST 450R Spring 2020