This tutorial is a ‘teaching and learning community’ as well as a modest introduction to contemporary African literature. This warrants some explanation!

First, this tutorial is designed to give you a ‘home’ during your first semester at Hampshire, where you can talk and think about what it means for you to be here and what you want to achieve, and how to work and live in community in an experimental interdisciplinary institution. We’ll spend one day a week checking in about your academic and social questions about Hampshire, and about being in college in general. We’ll visit a few places on campus, and I hope to give you a sense of some of the resources that are available to you here at Hampshire as you make your way through the Divisions and on to your Division 3.

On the other day of the week, we’ll discuss either a reading of contemporary African fiction, or a film or television series. As it offers a tiny introduction to some of the vital work being done today by African writers from different parts of this vast and diverse continent, this class serves as a forum for youto reflect critically on our individual reading histories, as well as our diverse relations to the concept and realities of ‘Africa.’ Some of the questions we will ask are: What have our experiences of writings about Africa been? What does ‘African literature’ mean, as an analytic category? When is it useful? How is it occlusive? What are its borders, if any? Why and how does African literature matter in global literary worlds and in our own lives? What does it mean for each of us to be here, at Hampshire, now, engaging as writers with contemporary African literature? Over the course of the semester, how might our ideas change or be challenged? And, always: whoever we are, how can we ‘find our way toward’ and approach literary works that might emerge from places and experiences unfamiliar to us? Seeking to honor each class member’s existing expertise, experience, and interests, this class asks each member to research and do a class presentation of their choosing on any aspect of contemporary arts in Africa.