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Literature, Art and Culture in Africa: African postcolonial theories and literary criticism


Admission requirements

Elective for MA African Studies, compulsory for RESMA African Studies Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (please contact the course coordinator).


This course aims at raising and answering to some relevant questions relating to the political and cultural independence of formerly subjugated people, and themes such as racialism and colonialism. By looking at alternatives intellectual histories, namely histories outside of Western epistemology, the course will focus on African movements, thinkers and their pivotal texts.
The literary and ideological philosophy, developed by francophone African intellectuals, writers, and politicians in France during the 1930s and called Négritude along with the Pan-Africanism movement which spread among English-speaking black intellectuals will be investigated. Postcolonial feminism – which emerged as a response to the Eurocentric focus of feminism – will be also investigated. Lastly, the course delves also into a selection of novels which explore contemporary Afro-diasporic identity politics and have shed light how Afropolitanism is relevant for both the diaspora and for Africa.

Course objectives

General Learning Objectives:

  1. Formulate judgements, based on a question or problem in the field of African Literatures by taking into account social and cultural, academic and ethnical responsibilities linked to the student’s own application of knowledge and judgement;
  2. Clearly communicate, both in oral and written form, the outcomes based on the students own academic research, knowledge, motifs, and considerations to professionals as well as the broader public.

Learning skills pertaining to the course:

  1. The student will obtain the ability to apply knowledge, insights and different methods from the discipline Literature and Culture Studies in new or unknown circumstances within the domain of African Studies, in order to solve problems, integrate knowledge and deal with complex matters;
  2. The student will acquire knowledge of African cultural production engaging with issues of postcolonial history and literature;
  3. The student will acquire knowledge and understanding of major debates on postcolonialism relevant to African studies;
  4. The student will acquire skills of analysing the aesthetics of African texts, films in
    socio-historical contexts.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Practical training for creative writing.

Assessment method

Presentations (20%): (measured course objective 1-9)
Active participationin class (10%): (measured course objective 1-9)
Take home exam (70%): (measured course objective 1-9)

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Resit will be done in consultation with the course coordinator.
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The following list is indicative. Please consult the syllabus for more detailed information.

  • Wainaina, Binyavanga. 2008. How to Write about Africa. Nairobi: Kwani Trust.

  • Ngũgĩ, wa Thiong'o. 1986. Decolonising the Mind: the politics of language in African literature. London: Currey.

  • Franz, Fanon. 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press

  • Kai, Kresse. 2018. Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience, Bloomington: Indiana University Press

  • Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia. 2011. “Literacy and the Decolonization of Africa’s Intellectual History”, History in Africa, Volume 38, pp. 35-46

  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. 1988. "Can the Subaltern Speak?", in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg. (eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of culture, Macmillan Education: Basingstoke , pp. 271-313

  • Karin Barber. 1995. “African-Language Literature and Postcolonial Criticism”, Research in African Literature Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 3-30

  • Mbembe, Achille. 2005. “Afropolitanisme.” Africultures.

  • Chinua Achebe. 1958. Things Fall Apart.

  • Armah, Ayi Kwei. 1973. The beautiful ones are not yet born.

  • Chimamanda, N. Adichie. 2017. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress please contact Annelies de Koning the Coordinator of Studies