Notes for Africa In the World course .docx

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African Studies
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Steve Joordens

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African In the World: Lecture Four (Prof. Neil) 10/25/2010 12:51:00 PM 1. African writers 2. Rewriting European Writing 3. Writing Africa 4. Assignment 2 Second assignment: Due in 2 weeks North Africa- Arabic down to west Africa and East Africa - alphabetic writing- Arabic using alphabet so does English Arabic and English writing are very related and have common roots Arabic associated with Islam and the Quran penetrated all throughout Africa giving it connotations Writing belongs to sacred book -Areas where Arabic people were not their west Africa coast, central and south Africa there was no exposure to alphabetic writing. Things fall apart writing is shown through leaving marks- way of communication Graphic marks as a means of communication Writing with marks represents sound Alphabetic writing was not present in most of sub Sahara Africa - other people in west Africa sent messages through drums and musical instruments. - Means of communication as not alphabetical literacy - Passing on culture, verbal culture- stories, proverbs, songs and many expressive ways using words - Just cause they used graphics and markings, doesn’t mean they didn’t have a rich culture - Hausa and Swahili (blend of bantu and Arabic) are biggest African languages were written in Arabic characters - Biggest librarires in Africa is toombuck too. - Ibo Land (things fall apart)- there was no writing (southern Nigeria) writing came with the colonizers and missionaries. th - many African languages were written down in the 19 century. - Ibo or Igbo was first written down in the early 20thcentury by missionaries some black and white who came from outside and learned ibo and wrote it down and created a system and translated the bible in Ibo language to try and convert people. - first converts was ichube father and learned to read and write and learned English and read and write in that language. - African languages were written down by missionaries and there are sounds in African lanuages that are not found in European languages. - for examples, Zulu language has click sounds that don’t exist in European languages - to write this language we pick useless letters like x and c and that’s how missionaries wrote it down. - first missionaries wrote IBO originally but now included achebe we write IGBO of standard igbo language because of the silent g that presents the wo-like sound. - First missionaries and governments set up schools for the Africans and moved form local places to French and English , Portugeese territories. - Achebe’s father was a convert to Christianity and was able to be bilingual in Igbo language and English as well - Achebe got a scholarship to boarding school and he became very well and got to the first university in Nigeria opened up in Ibadan - Give university of London degrees in Ibadan University; went to study medicine to become a doctor for his parents dreams. - He shifted to English to study literature and stories; studied English literature because he loved listening to traditional stories form his roots and found the books in literature classes attractive; exposed to British and American writers but not African writers because their were none present at the time. - Leopold Senghor- father of French African writing and started a couple decades earlier in French African and English Africa - French wanted to apply the method of assimilation by giving them same education as young French students in France. - British followed indirect rule and were concerned with letting people do what they want as long as they paid taxes and supplied the labor. both were ways of colonizing- French and British - Went to school in St. Louis and Paris to University and met young blacks from French Caribbean. These French caribbeans came up with philosophy called ‘Negritude’. - they wrote poetry and other reflective art to get in touch with their African roots - achebe wanted to write novels like he read and had a couple of motives: can’t write the books he loves but something closer to his own experience. - Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad about a journey up in unnamed river inspired by Congo river in centre of Africa; going back to deep in unconscious and journey that is about the monsters Europeans become when they colonize and leave behind their fixed stable societies and find themselves in other people societies where they enslave people and kill them. - Racist book because they are called savages and are the people of Jungle and are mysterious people; weird and incomprehensible rituals. -Chinua Achebe read heart of darkness in university and was shocked by the African society portrayal of his roots and disagreed with it. - Then that inspired him to write ―things fall apart‖ because he wanted to write about the world he knows and want to correct the mistaken facts about Africa in European Literature - 1960- Nigeria got its independence and African Literature started same time as African Nations do. - African nation needed literature as in Nigeria and continent as a whole and him and his classmates felt that they needed African Literature and wrote about his fathers time and lived his whole life under colonialism and found it embarrassment and wrote about the pre-colonial time, his grandfathers time because it had rich history and would change other peoples views. - ‘Animism’- people who are stable in African roots, traditional - first half of book- before colonizers arrive and when they do, things fall apart - Okonkwo life becomes significant then falls- tragedy. Umuohia- clan amongst Ibo people. - Okonkwo commits suicide because he’s fighting against his own spirit. - very end in novel, there is a character who is revealed who will write a story and survived and went on to remember everything that happened. - Minor character in things fall apart, stands up and says I will include this in writing and will write this: district commisioner- the president of colonial. - He will give paragraph to tell the story of this suicide; small space that is misrepresented a.k.a wrong story. No one reads and writes except district missionaries, and wants to write it down so he can get it wrong; simply irony. - readers know that this will be a false story and gives it an ironic ending and the district commissioner will not tell a real story and was based on a real story by Arthur Glyn Leonard- The Tribes of the Lower Niger - anthropology has its origins in colonialism- they wrote about people so next colonial administer would know better how to govern them. Ethnography- trying to shed its colonial past and write more about its ethnicity. - In Ethnography Okonkwo would be seen as a subject to be studied b/c his reactions are not his but reactions of tribes men in lower Niger. He would be a typical African, and typical suicide. - Arthur assumes they commit suicide because there is something wrong with African, each suicide reveals something that is true about its culture. - Okonkwo has personal psychology which is diff. from everyone with his own story, own relation to wives, sons and is a significance story because not b/c its typical but follows custom blinding- - Okonkow- interest for himself. District commissioner is writing a novel called “ The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger”- „Pacification‟- suggests larger process underway. - Author was conscious that history is going to be made. Notion of making history has imperialist mind- history moves forward. - Teleological- search meaning - hundred years ago British people thought everywhere in the world will be colonized by Europe because it was inevitable. - Process sounds neutral- but really means colonization- pacification - Achebe intended to show that Ibo’s had choices and made diff. ones; and made decisions; yes, colonization happened but was not what should’ve happen or had to happen in Achebe’s view. Pacification- ease aggression and make peaceful - Pax Britannica- British Peace - Umuohia goes to war with neighbouring people b/c someones umuohpian wife got killed and goes to war for revenge, deceit compensation - Colonial ideology- Africans fight b/c they are Africans and british don’t come in with peace language but come in with negativity and smash the communities - Disporportion in the means of violence and British colonizers Primitive- sense of pride and how things were at the beginning before history gets started - People are ruled by culture and culture never changes. - Europeans felt like when they travel back, its like they are travelling back in time and imagined that when they went across Atlantic or south in Africa felt like they were meeting their ancestors; they were not, but meeting others who are living in the same times as them to make friends with and learn about. - One direction history is going in and decision is made by Europeans - people are conscious of change - Tribes- clans Umuophia is a clan and Ibos- we would call a tribe - endogamous- marrying inside the community Ibos were a bunch of clans Lower Niger- relation the Nigerian delta (near the mouth) - Tribe- people who don’t have a state - Clan- much smaller groups where people know each other and can make easy decisions amongst themselves - district commissioner locates them in history and on the map which is unfair: why? b/c - Several motivations to rewrite this history: writing in English about people who don’t speak English and these people have no idea of larger history of colonization. He is writing a modern needs about people who wouldn’t see things the same way; trying to be fair to how people would see things and tell a story. - correct false European notions and has to be fair to thse characters who don’t write, have English, or don’t see themselves as African or Nigerian and needs to be fair to ho they would tell this story. - so, he concludes with one of their stories in page 196. - we don’t speak the way we write; and is very different you need to learn how to write. - Africa in the World: Lecture 5 10/25/2010 12:51:00 PM 1. Writing Africa 2. What happened when things fall apart? 3. Double Consciousness -photocopy pages you want and re-read them and look at how it’s written, why there are proverbs, foreign words and why sentences are constructed in such ways. Think about Achebe’s task of writing an African novel. - Thesis about the novel as a whole. Essay due next Tuesday: Write about how book is written. The encounters that Chinua Achebe had to face during the process of his novel. Oral story telling - repetition (ex. They were very happy, he was very happy) - run on sentences (additive- compound sentences) - Interactive - Taurus is full of cunning b/c he is a trickster, trickster story. Interpreting between 2 diff. cultures. - characters are types (Taurus out smarts others and maybe gets punished) - Out of place: in story time, at the beginning - contest/basic oppositions - oral story telling requires memory and our attention and very often involves parents talking to children - close to the life world of the teller and listener (experiences) Style - very fluid (he writes with a purpose and is chronologically and his words are very visual) - announces what stories he will tell before he tells them - vivid imagery - composed sentences - out of the map; almost in story time (at the beginning) - contest - proverbs- make following the dialogue easier (oral and tradition wisdom)= conservative- usually about bounds and being careful: maintaining balance/evenness - writers have to prove that their original= great writers - Achebe’s style is oral story telling - Okonkwo- fear less, aggressive, traditional, proud, powerful, uncompromising= warrior/hero - Okonkwo is a type and easily described as a warrior = unchangeable - oral stories often use ―types‖ - Okonkwo suffers from ―hubris‖- tragedy (story of rise and falls) * oral tale * tragedy * novel * Okonkwo is afraid to show weakness or to show mercy, doubt= lazy and female like if he does do the following things - Psychologically interesting- Okonkwo - Achebe has to explain to Igbo’s and non-Igbo’s about this world - has to write anthropology- often explains Things fall apart= (mixture of oral tale, tragedy, novel and anthropology) Umuofia - communal- individualist/ one worldview- divided - people are defined by relations: kinship (who you are related to) - patriarchal - no division of labour; all subsistence farms - equality/democracy/meritocracy - more wives means wealthy farmer - more kids= more help on the farm *throwing a huge feast in the community = great farmer and earn more respect and title *wives and children= how good of a worker/farmer you are. - Okonknow- self, made man becomes best farmer in the village (hardworking) Government: democracy/debate/consensus (no king, chief) instead democracy - acephalous (without a head) - clan: small face to face community/ no strangers= everyone is related to everyone else - ancestors are still present - horizontal society- symmetrical - contrast between the world humans make and the non-human world - oracle, Agbala - Evil Forest - ogbaye Egbo cosmology Northern Africa: Lecture 6 10/25/2010 12:51:00 PM The U.N. defines North Africa as: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, and the conflicting zone of Western Sahara (Morocco currently is in control of most of its parts, claiming sovereignty based on the historical ties between the tribes of the Western Sahara and the Moroccan Kingdom as well as the billion dollars spent on infrastructure since the Spanish colonizing powers left the territory in 1975. The Polisario Front (independence movement) and Algeria claim control over the Western Sahara, considering the tribal history of the region as well as the failure of international diplomacy to have a referendum take place, where the Natives of the Western Sahara decide their political destiny, whether they want to seek complete independence or self governance within the political regime of Morocco). Of course, the history of North Africa is more complex, but these are simple facts that should be used along with our class discussions about the Spread of Islam in North Africa along with Arabic/Arabization, minorities in North Africa (Berbers in most of North African countries and Christian Copts in Egypt), histories of early and modern forms of colonization(s), wars for independence, political conflicts, and the importance of economy in establishing power within the region or beyond…We also discussed the interesting positioning of North African is part of the African continent and the Arab world. MOROCCO: Morocco is in many ways a country apart. It nestles on the northwestern tip of Africa, separated from the rest of the continent by the towering Atlas Mountains and by the Sahara itself. Its climate, geography, and history are all more closely related to the Mediterranean than to the rest of Africa, and for this reason visitors are often struck by the odd sensation of having not quite reached Africa in Morocco. In the north, its fine beaches, lush highland valleys, and evocative old cities reinforce this impression. Yet, as one moves south and east, into and over the starkly beautiful ranges of the Atlases, Morocco's Mediterranean character melts away like a mirage. The Sahara stretches out to the horizon, and forbidding kasbahs stare. Morocco is situated on the extreme northwestern corner of Africa and is bordered by Mauritania and Algeria, both to the south and east. Morocco's varied geography includes no less than four separate mountain ranges, in addition to lush river valleys, beautiful sandy coasts, and wide expanses of desert. The three most prominent mountain ranges, which run parallel to each other from the southwest to the northeast, are the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas, and the Anti-Atlas. The Moroccan coastline, which fronts onto both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, offers plenty of great beaches as well as a number of fascinating old coastal cities. In the southeast, Morocco's mountain ranges yield inexorably to the desolate expanse of the Sahara. The rivers that flow down this side of the High Atlas support long, narrow, and lush river valleys that resemble linear oases. Morocco's history began with the Berbers, the aboriginal people who have inhabited the country since the end of the 2nd millennium BC Rome extended its rule over the area after defeating Carthage in 146 BC, and testimony to its presence still exists in the fine Roman ruins at Volubilis. As Rome fell into decline Morocco was invaded first by the Vandals and then, in the 7th century, by the Arabs. Although external Arab rule lasted little more than a century, the arrival of Islam proved to be a permanent addition to Moroccan culture. In the ensuing centuries a series of ruling dynasties came to power, including the Idrissids, the Almoravids, and the Almohads. The latter extended the sovereignty of Morocco to Spain in the North, Sudan in the South, and almost Lybia in the East. By the 15th century Spain and Portugal began to intrude into Morocco, after having expelled the Moors from their own lands. Although Morocco successfully repulsed these invasions, the tide of European imperialism eventually proved too great. By the middle of the 19th century Morocco's strategic importance had become evident to all of the European powers, and they engaged in a protracted struggle for possession of the country. Finally, in 1911, France was formally acknowledged as protector of the greater part of the country, with Spain receiving a number of isolated locales. French rule came to an end in 1953, with the official independence gained in 1956, although its cultural influence on Morocco remains strongly in evidence. Today the country is ruled by King Mohammed VI. He appears to be leading Morocco toward both long-term stability and a greater degree of economic prosperity. His attempts at advocating women’s rights, education in rural areas, and reducing unemployment rates are undeniable. He is also an avid supporter of the Berbers’ attempts at reviving and rediscovering their culture and linguistic heritage. The economy of the country relies on agriculture, tourism, and phosphate production. Algeria: Nearly four times the size of Texas, Algeria is bordered on the west by Morocco and Western Sahara and on the east by Tunisia and Libya. The Mediterranean Sea is to the north, and to the south are Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. The Saharan region, which is 85% of the country, is almost completely uninhabited. From a historical perspective, excavations in Algeria have indicated that Homo erectus resided there between 500,000 and 700,000 years ago. Phoenician traders settled on the Mediterranean coast in the 1st millennium B.C. As ancient Numidia, Algeria became a Roman colony, part of what was called Mauretania Caesariensis, at the close of the Punic Wars (145 B.C. ). Conquered by the Vandals about A.D. 440, it fell from a high state of civilization to virtual barbarism, from which it partly recovered after an invasion by Arabs about 650. Christian during its Roman period
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