Week Ten: Before We Leave Africa Behind

I do want to draw your attention to two interesting non-fiction-ish reads, “How Not To Write About Africa” and “How To Write About Africa.”  They both make me smile, and, of course, think.  And if you want to read something with a “happy ending,” I humbly submit to you Adichie’s short story “The Headstrong Historian” that, I would argue, continues the story line of Things Fall Apart.  I love this story.  I love the work it does.  The last three paragraphs are perhaps some of the most beautiful and uplifting sentences written.

This week you will spend some time with theoretical articles about Things Fall Apart.  (Did you know there was a controversy over a film that wanted to use the same title?  Neither did I.)  You will read a total of four articles:  two I choose, two you choose.  The two I choose begin on page 159 and 209 of the critical edition.  The two you choose are, well, up to you.

Your post this week will look a little different.  In an attempt to help you learn all of the modes of writing used in our profession, I am asking you to write informative abstracts of your two chosen articles (not the ones I chose).  If you aren’t sure what an indicative abstract does, click here.  Basically, what is the argument of the piece and how is the piece useful to the study of TFA?  You are writing to an unknowing reader who is probably going to read the abstract to decide if she/he wants to spend her/his valuable research time reading the entire piece.

Start to look ahead on the syllabus.  You will need to get your hands on a film for the following week, so if you need to order from Netflix, do it now.  Also, the semester is starting to come to a close, so continue to think about your final projects.  I want them to be useful to you.

I want to return to South Africa.  I want all of you to want to go to there someday, or somewhere.  Africa isn’t just animals and sadness and poverty.  It is a place filled with humans with needs, desires, and ambition.  It is a place of beauty and art.  And good food and wine.  It is a place I hope to explore with Matt and Ev sooner than later.

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One comment

  1. cturn215 · · Reply

    I just read “The Headstrong Historian.” The story’s end reminded me of an interesting fact I learned this year; many American and British institutions disliked admitting students from colonized (or decolonizing) nations during the 1950’s and 1960’s; an understanding of history turned them into nationalist extremists, was the common outcry. I think of this today, since so many students in the UK and in the US are under government surveillance–the NYPD has recently admitted to sending a paid informant to meetings of Muslim student groups, and the UK unabashedly spies on its foreign nationals from Africa and the Middle East. Many of the aggrieved students are told, summarily, if you are not doing anything wrong, you have no reason to worry. I look at those performing the surveillance and I feel like telling them the same thing. 🙂

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