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Unit information: African narratives of migration in 2015/16

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Unit name African narratives of migration
Unit code FREN30039
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ruth Bush
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Migration is a defining feature of African cultural and political history. This course will explore how a range of writers and filmmakers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have represented experiences of movement: from the migrations that shaped pre-colonial empires in West Africa, to the traumatic forced migration of the transatlantic slave trade, and more recent patterns of movement from Africa to Europe and North America. We will consider literary texts and films from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Togo that engage with this theme, in order to consider diverse creative responses to migration as a process of self- and societal transformation. Our reading will be framed by recent theorisations of travel, exile, cosmopolitanism and globalization.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  1. Be able to demonstrate sophisticated knowledge of a range of literary and filmic narratives that engage with the theme of migration.
  2. Be able to use and think critically about key terms such as migration, exile, cosmopolitanism, nomadism, globalization, community, diaspora.
  3. Be able to demonstrate a good understanding of different critical approaches to reading African literature and the theoretical debates surrounding these approaches.
  4. Be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of primary and secondary source materials at a high level.
  5. Be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be via seminars, which will include short lectures, student presentations and class discussion.

Assessment Information

2 x 3000 word essays (each representing 50% of the mark for the unit), testing ILO’s 1-5.

Reading and References

Bernard Binlin Dadié, Un Nègre à Paris (1959)

Ousmane Sembene (Dir.), La Noire de… (1966)

Yambo Ouologuem, Le Devoir de violence (1968)

Sami Tchak, Place des fêtes (2001)

Fatou Diome, La Préférence nationale (2001)

Moussa Touré (Dir.), La Pirogue (2012)