Africa and the World: Literature, Politics, and Global Geographies

African countries are often negatively portrayed in Western media and only make an occasional appearance in countless social studies textbooks in U.S. schools. Even fewer K-12 and community college curricula demonstrate the cultural riches and diversity of the continent. But literature is arguably one of the most powerful tools educators could use to broaden students’ understanding of African cultures and societies.

The place of African writers in the primary and secondary classroom is typically limited to short explorations of a single author, often treated as representative of the entire continent.  But in the post-secondary level, African literatures broadly defined should engage questions of what it means for a body of creative work to be framed as regional, national, “postcolonial”, or “world” in a globalizing context. In collaboration with the African Literature Association’s (ALA) annual conference, the institute will offer a four-day intensive program for K-12 and community college educators who are passionate about using creative literary works to explore Africa’s complex social histories, politics, and cultural identities. The institute may be of particular interest not only to English/Language Arts educators, but to Social Studies and other Humanities teachers looking to creatively incorporate literature, poetry, or drama into their curriculum.

Participants will have access to notable African authors and leading literary scholars who will present on themes of migration and creative writing, the teaching of canonical African texts, film in the classroom, and poetry and performance.  Participants will also have the opportunity to attend select events within the larger ALA conference.

The institute will offer a broad range of resources for teachers interested in integrating this content into their classroom curriculum. These include pedagogical workshops on how to analyze and teach literary sources from Africa, as well as how to utilize materials from the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale University Art Gallery.

A Curriculum Advisor will also form an integral part of the program to assist participants in authoring their own curricular units, which can potentially be published on PIER’s website as resources for outside educators.

Complete online application here


Please note participants will be accepted on a rolling basis until registration is full.  Final date for applications and full tuition payment of $160 is 4/16/2017.

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Sponsored by PIER and the Councils on African Studies and Middle East Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, with generous support from the Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the United States Department of Education.