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Literature, Art and Culture in Africa: African appropriations


Admission requirements

Compulsory for students enrolled in the MA African Studies programme. Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (please contact the course coordinator).


The theme of this year’s course in Literature, Art and Culture of Africa is Travelling Texts and Adaptation from across the African continent. The recent debate concerning World Literature has sparked again interest in the global circulation of texts. So far, however, the focus has mostly been on Western texts, i.e. the novel in English, French and German, and its distribution in the West being synonymous with the literature market or a very restricted "republic of letters" (Casanova 1999). In this course, we will take into consideration how and when the Classics arrived to Africa. Which texts have travelled most and how did they get adapted in those specific contexts into new languages and cultural frameworks ? Case studies and reflections on re-writing and appropriation of Western gernes in non-Western and multi-lingual contexts will be analysed through developing a critical lens for re-reading African appropriations in literature, film and art as forms of mimesis , recreation and knowledge production.

Course objectives

General Learning Objectives:

The student will acquire the ability to:
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 and develop critical thinking on constructions of Africa in literature, film and visual art;
  3. The student will acquire knowledge of African cultural production engaging with issues of postcolonial history and literature;
  4. The student will acquire knowledge and understanding of major debates on african apporpiation and adaptation theories relevant to African studies;
  5. The student will acquire skills of analysing the aesthetics of African texts, films and art in
    socio-historical contexts.


The timetable is available on the website of the MA African Studies

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 5EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Seminars: 7 x 2 = 14 hours

  • Preparation (film watching): 8 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 104

  • Assignment(s) (presentations): 10 hours

  • Take home exam(s): 4 hours

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication between students and seminar leaders;

  • Submission of written work;

  • Exchange of documents and course information

Reading list

Krings, M. African Appropriations
Taussig, M. Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses
Genette, G. Palimpsestes : La littérature au second degré
Hutcheon, L. A Theory of Adaptation
Bal, M. Loving Yusuf: Conceptual Travels from Present to Past
Beecroft, A. An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day
Hofmayer, I. The Portable Bunyan

A list of secondary readings will be provided at the beginning of the course.


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 about the content of the course, please contact the teacher: Annachiara Raia

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc


A maximum of five students from other programmes than the MA African Studies can join this course.