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Culture Africa


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


The course is designed to introduce students to the complex field of cultural communication in Africa by focusing on the role of linguistic and non-linguistic communicative practices and of artistic communication as expression of cultural identities.
In the first part we will examine various modes of communication in African communities of practice and seek to understand the cultural values that are at play in these social actions and how communicative strategies serve to create and define identities and statuses in African cultures.

In the second block, we will discuss the (problematic) concepts of elite and popular culture in African contexts and we will examine the impact of technology and globalization on the persistence of ‘ traditional’ cultural patterns.
Finally, we will focus on the implication of artistic practices (as manifested in literature, art and film) in the histories of political resistance and negotiation in Southern Africa since the 1960s and the role of art in the processes of social transformation after apartheid.

Course objectives

  1. To familiarize students with the main concepts in African studies regarding communication in a variety of forms (oral, written) and contexts (rural and urban, locally based and diasporic).
    1. To introduce students to the debates around the conceptions of elite and popular cultures in Africa, and the ways in which media are involved in transforming ‘local’ and ‘global’ traditions.
    2. To inquire into the complex relationships of culture and society by focusing on a regional context (Southern Africa) and against the background of global processes of transformation.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

The final grade for the course consists the tutorial grade (30%) and the grade for the final essay (70%). The grade for the tutorial is based on the students’ own case studies which they post on the web-blog and their active participation in the discussion online (commenting on other students’ posts) and in class. Each of the three web-blog assignments (including their discussion) is worth 10% of the final grade.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Literature needed for this course will be published on Blackboard or made available by e-mail.


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.