Teaching African Literature in the American Classroom
Session type: Panel
Organized by: Ernest Cole
Send abstracts or inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Given the significance of encounter with cultures in African literature, instructors typically require (American) students to critically engage, explore, and interpret the cultural contexts of African literature, its subtexts, areas of contestation, and relation to identity.
This “sociological approach,” in tandem with close reading, engages the question of why culture matters in the conceptualization and delivery of instructional materials in African literature.
This panel seeks abstracts that seek to address another crucial question: why the negative assumptions or stereotypes of African culture persists in the American worldview, and what it means for students to internalize that perspective and use it as lens to encounter difference and otherness, and to craft meaningful reader responses to texts they are reading. Papers that strive particularly to explore the ideologies and structures that engender interpretive activities that raise complex questions of identity, if not “Africanness,” in my literature classes are encouraged.
Further, papers that explore essentialism and its deconstruction, as a way of understanding stereotypes and its limitations in cultural criticism, engage stereotypes without being apologetic or defensive, and posit critical approaches, pedagogical strategies, and theoretical frameworks that teachers of African literatures can adopt to create nuanced socio-cultural perspectives and its place in the praxis of criticism are strongly solicited.
Please send a maximum of 2-page abstract to Ernest Cole at email@example.com including name of participant, university/college affiliation, topic, title of paper, and description of key ideas in paper. Papers received before 28 February 2018 will be given full consideration.