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Literature, Art and Culture in Africa


Admission requirements

This course is a compulsory element of the MA African Studies.

Please note that there is a limited number of spots available for this course. Students of the MA and ResMA African Studies have priority over all others.


The theme of this year’s course is Literature, Art and Culture of Africa is Post-Conflict History, Memory, and Cultural Production in Africa.
Questions of transformation and justice in the aftermath of colonialism, war, and conflict as well as political transitions have been at the top of agendas of African states and have defined their external relations. How to write history so that it accounts for past injustices and trauma and at the same time encourages transformation and does not institute a new hegemonic narrative? How to commemorate heroes, restore the lives of victims while attempting to achieve reconciliation? In this context, attention to memory practices and their mediation by a variety of state and non-state actors is indispensable. Cultural production (including literature, film, art, theatre and other genres) plays a major role in shaping these practices and critically reflects on their development.
In this course, we will work towards developing a critical lens for reading literature, film and art as media of public memory. In so doing, we will inquire into the possibilities of re-telling and re-imagining the past by documentary and fictional representations. Students will acquire basic skills of analysing examples of literature, film and visual art.

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Multidisciplinary knowledge of and insight into societies and cultures of Africa at an advanced level.
  2. A thorough understanding of the societal relevance of the study subject. 3. General knowledge of and insight into current issues within the overall field and
    main disciplines of African Studies
  3. Advanced knowledge of at least two of the following disciplines in relation to African Studies:
    Linguistics, Culture Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, History or Economics.

Applying knowledge and understanding

  1. The ability to work with a complex body of sources of diverse nature and to report on this analysis in oral form
  2. The ability to work with a complex body of sources of diverse nature and to report on this analysis in written form

Ability to formulate judgements

  1. formulate judgements in the field of African Studies
  2. Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.
  3. Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.


  1. Oral skills to clearly communicate the outcomes
  2. Written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes

Learning Skills

  1. Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field.
  2. Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practioners’ fields;


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

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Seminars: 6 x 2 hours = 12 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 40 hours

  • Assignment(s) (research and paper writing): 88 hours

Assessment method

Written paper: 60 %; course objectives assessed: 1-4, 6-9, 11-13
In class assignments and participation in discussion: 40%, course objectives assessed: 1-5, 7-10, 12.

In order to pass the course, the weighted average should be sufficient. In case the weighted average is insufficient, the written paper can be resubmitted after receiving feedback. The in class assignments can not be retaken.

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication of information relevant for the course

  • Submission of written work

Reading list



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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

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