AIFS Abroad

AIFS Study Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa
Summer 2018
Course Descriptions

   

Stellenbosch University expands its course offerings and programs each year.

The following courses will be offered during the 2018 program. Each year the course content and program is adjusted slightly so please refer to this page for a current list of courses and updates on any new courses or academic themes.

Academic Field Trips: Many of the courses on the summer program include academic field trips which give students practical, real-life examples of the subject they are studying. These field trips will be identified in the final course information prior to arrival and may take place outside of regular scheduled class times.

All courses are taught in English.

General Elective Program

Students take 3 courses in total on this program. Course 1 is mandatory for all students. The two remaining courses are selected from Courses 2 to 13. Each course is worth 2 credits, giving a total of 6 credits. A minimum of 5 students must register for a particular course in order for it to be presented.

Week 1 (Mandatory)
Course Code and Credits: Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2)
Course Title: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History
Course Description:
During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.

Week 2
Course Code and Credits: Course 2 - SSA 203/303 (2)
Course Title: Biodiversity: Plants for the People in the Western Cape
Course Description:
During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s incredible biological diversity, with special focus on the plants of the Cape Floristic Region. After a solid theoretical and practical introduction to the diversity and richness of this flora, the focus will shift to the role and responsibility of people in conserving and benefiting from these botanical riches. This leads to a full day of exploration of the benefits currently being reaped from commercialization of indigenous plants especially for the cut flower industry. Indigenous plant use by local people, especially traditional healers, constitutes the final topic of discussion, and will be followed by a visit to traditional medicinal markets. The course will close with verbal presentations by students on topics researched during the course.
Course Code and Credits: Course 3 - SSA 204/304 (2)
Course Title: Visual Controversies in South Africa, Past and Present
Course Description:
In this course we will track major developments and changes in South African art and media from the Union years (1910-1948), through the Apartheid era (1948-1994) and after (1994-present). The point of this broad historical perspective is not so much to provide a condensed history of South African art and media, as it is to explore the relationship between South Africa’s turbulent socio-political landscape and its visual culture. In particular, we aim to explore the notion of national identity as it manifested and still manifests in art and visual culture. The first part of the course deals with the concurrent rise of Afrikaner and African nationalism in the early 20th century, and the role of visual culture in the construction of these competing national identities. The second part of the lecture series deals with the years of the ‘struggle’, when the dominant white construct of nation came into conflict with the rising tide of militant African nationalist aspiration. The final part of the series looks at ‘new’ South African nationalism, and the often conflicted art and media it produces.
Course Code and Credits: Course 4 - SSA 210 / 310 (2) (2)
Course Title: Transitional Justice
Course Description:
Among the pressing challenges facing societies emerging out of war or authoritarianism is how to respond to human rights violations perpetrated in the mayhem of conflict. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission represents one model that has been both celebrated and heavily critiqued. Offered by a practitioner who has worked with the UN in the African Great Lakes region, Nepal, and North Africa, this course sets the commission in historic and comparative context, critically highlighting questions about truth recovery, justice, reparations, and enabling non-recurrence.
Course Code and Credits: Course 5 - SSA 206/306 (2)
Course Title: Growth, Unemployment and Inequality in South Africa: Past and Future Challenges
Course Description:
South Africa is a developing country marked by severe inequalities. While in many aspects its economy reflects that of a developed nation, the exorbitant unemployment rate and the large number of people living in absolute poverty are characteristic of low-income countries. This course first attempts to shed light on South Africa’s unique path of economic development: what were the causes of such an unequally divided society? The post-Apartheid government has made multiple attempts to eradicate poverty and redress inequality. We discuss the successes and failures of these policies. Finally, we look to the future, and discuss the scenarios that could either lift South Africa to high-income status or allow it to become another ‘African failure’.
Course Code and Credits: Course 6 - SSA 205/305 (2)
Course Title: Multilingualism and Intercultural Communication
Course Description:
Three main themes will be covered during the course. 1. Intercultural Communication as a field of academic reflection: This theme will cover the historical background, and the reasons for scholarly and popular interest in the phenomenon of intercultural communication. It will also give definitions and general features as well as the main research themes currently covered in Intercultural Communication. In the course of introducing this theme, key concepts in the field, such as ‘language’, ‘multilingualism’, ‘culture’, ‘communication’, ‘miscommunication’, ‘misunderstanding’, etc. will be introduced. 2. Theoretical approaches to the study of Intercultural Communication phenomena and methods of research in Intercultural Communication: This theme will introduce a number of theoretical approaches and the associated methodologies within the field. These will include the contrastive approach, the interlanguage approach; the interactive-intercultural approach; pragmatic approaches; sociolinguistic approaches; ethnographic approaches, (critical) discourse analysis; linguistic analysis (e.g. structural features of code-switching; pragmatic features such as irony and truism). 3. Intercultural Communication in social interaction: Here two broad themes will be covered, namely (i) Intercultural Communication which involves minority language groups, and (ii) Intercultural Communication in the workplace. This theme will be introduced by means of specific case studies which illustrate communicative features that mark multilingual contexts, as well as the linguistic effects of migration related to, for example, global economic mobility, war and other forms of violence, provision of public health care in multilingual facilities, provision of educational opportunities to minority language groups.

Week 3/4
Course Code and Credits: Course 7 - SSA 212/312 (2)
Course Title: Equity and Leadership in the Global Classroom (New for 2018)
Course Description:
This interactive experiential learning module will equip participants to critically reflect and evaluate their contextual worldview around contemporary global social justice issues. We will journey to deepen our understanding of how to achieve equality in an unequal society by exploring modern racism, privilege, discrimination, oppression and structural injustice.
Course Code and Credits: Course 8 - SSA 209/309 (2)
Course Title: Marketing
Course Description:
The module provides the student with an introduction to marketing and will focus on marketing dynamics in a rapidly changing environment. The aim will be to assist students in understanding the discipline of marketing and to focus on the variables that are important when making modern marketing decisions. Some of the aspects that will be addressed in the module are: an overview of marketing, the marketing environment, the competitive situation, understanding the consumer, segmenting and targeting markets, positioning the firm and its products, developing and managing products, marketing channels and intermediaries, pricing concepts, marketing communication, marketing in specialized markets.
Course Code and Credits: Course 9 - SSA 208/308 (2)
Course Title: Present Imperfect: Negotiating Identities in Film and Literature
Course Description:
This course focuses on the way in which literature and film in South Africa registered and reflected the social and political conflicts and tensions of the Apartheid years, and how, since the first democratic elections in 1994, these cultural products have served—and continue to serve—as a means of questioning and negotiating identity, not only nationally, but also at the level of the community and the individual. We will engage with two novels, a range of classic and contemporary South African poetry (also in the form of lyrics), as well as three films: one from the Apartheid era and two more recent South African productions.
Course Code and Credits: Course 10 - SSA 207/307 (2)
Course Title: Understanding HIV in South Africa: A Health and Social Justice Perspective
Course Description:
This interactive course aims to develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS, gender and sexuality through a health and social justice perspective. We will have a specific focus on the South African experience, evaluating how far we have come regarding HIV and Aids, gender, sexuality and health, and social justice in post-apartheid South Africa.
Course Code and Credits: Course 11 - SSA 211/311 (2)
Course Title: Ethics, Science and Culture in Philosophical Perspective
Course Description:
This course examines a number of key problems in contemporary ethics, politics and culture. Students are introduced to important questions and debates relating to our understanding of science, evolution, complexity, biomedicine, happiness and social justice. Beginning with an exploration of the implications of our evolutionary origins on our understanding of ethics, the focus then shifts to the nature of modern science and its impact on our culture. In light of the insights developed here, we then look at some of the specific moral problems that are called up by recent developments in biomedical technology. This is followed by an inquiry into the problem of happiness in philosophy and in contemporary psychology and economics. Against the background of this inquiry, we then reflect on the moral principles for distributing benefits and burdens, rights and obligations within society: happiness, need, merit or fairness?
Course Code and Credits: Course 12 - SSA 201/301(2)
Course Title: China in Africa
Course Description:
Focuses on China’s growing role on the African continent. While China engaged with African liberation movements during the Cold War, it was only from the 1990s onward, following its shift to a market economy, that the Chinese presence in Africa became a topic of widespread public debate. Understanding how China engages with Africa is crucial to grasping a much larger phenomenon, namely the rise of East Asia and the geopolitical realignment of global power which is currently taking place. By the end of this course you will have a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of Chinese engagements and why the Chinese presence is so attractive to African leaders. You will also familiarize yourself with the controversy surrounding the relationship, including issues of labor, trade imbalance and environmental degradation. The course commences with an historical overview of the relationship and its importance in the cementing of contemporary relations, followed by China’s unique modes of economic engagement on the continent. We then examine the various kinds of political influence which China wields and discuss some of the controversies surrounding the engagement and mechanisms which African countries draw on to command more cooperative interaction. The course will be conducted through interactive lectures, discussions, film material, and a field trip.
Course Code and Credits: Course 13 - SSA 213/313 (2)
Course Title: Biomedical Engineering: Designing Solutions for African Health (New for 2018)
Course Description:
Biomedical engineering involves applying the concepts, knowledge and approaches of virtually all engineering disciplines to solve or improve healthcare related problems. The challenges created by the diversity and complexity of living systems and the unique context of South Africa, require creative, knowledgeable, and imaginative people working in multidisciplinary teams to monitor, restore and enhance normal body function. In this course students will be exposed to healthcare challenges faced in South Africa and will work together in teams to help address these issues using novel engineering approaches.

Doing Business in Southern Africa Program

Course Code and Credits: Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2) (Mandatory)
Course Title: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History
Course Description:
During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.
Course Code and Credits: Course 2 - SSA 214/314 (5) (Mandatory)
Course Title: Doing Business in Southern Africa
Course Description:

For too long, Africa has been tainted by a Western skepticism of its past and potential development performance. The African caricature is not only reinforced by the popular media in their portrayal of famine, civil war and HIV/AIDS on the continent, but also in more credible sources. In their seminal contribution Collier and Gunning (1999) explain Africa’s post-colonial economic performance as a “chronic failure of economic growth”. The widely-held belief that Africa has always been poor, “underdeveloped”, and will remain so, is succinctly summarized by The Economist (2000), referring to Africa as “the hopeless continent” that would never escape recurring crises.

Of course, these pessimistic perspectives have their roots in the lackluster economic performance of many African countries in the four decades following independence. Average life expectancy of a child born in sub-Saharan Africa in 1980 was only 48 years (this before the onset of HIV/AIDS that would further decrease life expectancy in many African countries) and daily calorie intake was only 70 per cent of that of Latin America and East Asia (Hopkins 2009). But to suggest that African countries have always been underdeveloped is not only careless but wrong. African countries are rapidly emerging from the yokes of colonialism and fragile institutions that hampered post-independence development. Six of the top ten fastest growing economies in the decade 2000 – 2010 were African. A massive market is emerging, spurred on by greater investment in infrastructure, technology and human capital. Even the recent global recession had little effect on most African countries’ growth trajectory.

This course will bring together leading experts on Southern African countries’ economic and development opportunities. Doing business in a developing country raises numerous challenges. The course begins with an introduction to Africa’s past and present development performance, and economic outlook. Complex trade-offs arise from trade, integration and competition policy issues. A developmental focus necessitates entrepreneurs and big business to act socially, ethically and environmentally responsibly. Cognizant of these challenges, Southern African countries are open for business.

Course Outcomes:

  • An acute knowledge of the development challenges facing Southern African countries
  • Understand the growth of emerging Southern African markets and identify future growth potential
  • Ability to discuss and debate current and future policy issues in a development country context, awareness of the additional social, environmental and ethical considerations for African businesses
  • Prepare written case studies of a Southern African business
  • Deliver oral presentations to a diverse audience
  • Sensitivity for cultural diversity and respect for value systems that differ from our own

Public Health Care Program

Course Code and Credits: Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2) (Mandatory)
Course Title: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History
Course Description:
During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.
Course Code and Credits: COURSE 2 - SSA TBC (5) (Mandatory)
Course Title: Public Health Care in South Africa
Course Description:
This course introduces students to the health care system in South Africa both academically and practically, with Stellenbosch faculty lectures and experiential learning. The course takes a thematic approach with themes which are informed by the determinants of health in the Western Cape. It starts with a one week focus on HIV/AIDS, as a medical and social issue affecting South Africa, and the following two weeks cover topics such as substance abuse, domestic violence, mental and psychosocial health and sexual and reproductive health. Students will have the special opportunity to enhance their learning with exposures to health care facilities in the Western Cape Province where they will be able to make observations and / or participate in planned activities on site.