AIFS Abroad

AIFS Study Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fall Semester 2010 and Spring Semester 2011
Course Descriptions

   

Courses in English

AIFS students can choose from courses in English in the following areas:

Art
Culture: Music and Wine
Drama
Economics
English
Foreign Languages
History
Management and Marketing
Philosophy
Political Science
Sociology
Theology

Stellenbosch University expands its course offerings in English each year. Students should contact AIFS for an updated list of courses before the start of each semester, as the course listings change on a regular basis. This sample list of courses available in English is tentative and subject to change. Recommended credits are in parentheses.

University students begin at the equivalent of the U.S. sophomore level, therefore, the University’s course numbers are equivalent to one level higher than the U.S. University course numbers are listed first, followed by the American equivalent.

July-November semester courses

July-November semester courses - taught in English
Course Code and Credits: Afrikaans: Language and Culture 104/204 (3)
Course Title: Afrikaans for Beginners
Course Description:
Basic Afrikaans for foreigners. Enables students to listen with growing comprehension to everyday social conversation, speak and develop vocabulary as well as read basic Afrikaans.
Course Code and Credits: Art 106/206 (4)
Course Title: Photography
Course Description:
Examines three photographic practices that are relevant to the Southern African context, namely social documentary, portraiture and fine art photography. Combined with a practical photographic project to be completed during the course. Includes basic technical information about the camera and photography to enable students to complete the practical component.
Course Code and Credits: Art 107/207 (4)
Course Title: Jewelry Design
Course Description:
Introduction to the basic techniques of design and manufacture of jewelry as an art form. Demonstrations and guided work-time in the form of set projects. Creative design interpretations focus on the important elements of metal techniques, which are accuracy and precision, neatness in finishing and presentation. Both new trends and historic roots of jewelry are examined.
Course Code and Credits: Art 108/208 (4) NEW!
Course Title: Drawing
Course Description:
These practical classes aim to encourage individual creative growth and the development of technical skills through a variety of projects, rather than imposing a drawing doctrine or formula. The course projects includes an introduction to drawing, Figure drawing and conceptual process-orientated drawing.
Course Code and Credits: Biodiversity and Ecology 344/444 (4)
Course Title: Population and Community Ecology
Course Description:
Students are taught how to use quantitative methods to analyze problems relating to natural populations and communities. The population ecology section covers factors influencing population growth, structure and dynamics; matrix modeling of populations; metapopulations; factors causing the extinction of species.
Course Code and Credits: Conservation Ecology 242/342 (3)
Course Title: Conservation Censuring
Course Description:
The basic skills in natural history and the identification of the most important plant and animal groups. Monitoring and survey techniques for major plant and animal groups. The importance of indicator, umbrella, keystone and flagship species for conservation; plant/animal-habitat relationships; indices of species richness and species diversity; indices of community similarity and differences.
Course Code and Credits: Conservation Ecology 344/444 (4)
Course Title: Introduction to Conservation Management
Course Description:
Subjects covered include: the history of people and their relationships with their environments; the history and philosophy of conservation; environmental ethics; environmental problems; introductory conservation biology; conservation planning; soil uses; hydrology and catchment management; fire ecology and management; ecotourism and recreation.
Course Code and Credits: Economics/Political Science 214/314 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Economic and Development Problems in South Africa and Africa
Course Description:
This course includes: (i) Introduction to the brief History of the world, Africa and South Africa; (ii) Africa Today: the causes for Africa’s poor performance; (iii) Solutions and Africa’s future prospects; (iv) Political change, economic growth, unemployment, poverty, inequality, education, crime, HIV/Aids, infrastructure, ESKOM, trade and industrial and BEE policies.
Course Code and Credits: French 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: French for Beginners
Course Description:
After completing the French evening course, a student should be able to: talk about himself/herself, his/her life and surroundings, the weather, his/her likes and dislikes and other basic conver¬sational topics; understand basic texts; write a friendly letter; understand and react to a basic conversation in French and listen to French songs as well as other basic recordings. This course is offered for beginners; no prior knowledge of French is required. It is not for degree purposes.
Course Code and Credits: German 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: German for Beginners
Course Description:
After completing the German evening course, a student should be able to: talk about himself/herself, his/her life and surroundings, the weather, likes and dislikes and other basic conversational topics; understand simple basic texts; understand and react to a basic conversation in German; listen to basic recordings in Ger¬man (songs, news, weather report etc.) and write a short letter or e-mail. This course is offered for beginners; no prior knowledge of German is required. It is not for degree purposes.
Course Code and Credits: Global Health 214/314 (3) NEW!
Course Title: HIV and AIDS: A South African Perspective 214/314
Course Description:
This course aims to nurture and develop the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes in students as leaders and future professionals to manage HIV prevention and care in the workplace, both locally and abroad. This course will aim to develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS through a South African experience of the HIV epidemic. It covers: - The impact of the HIV epidemic in South Africa; - How education and health have been influenced by the epidemic; - The biomedical facts of HIV and Aids; - The influence of personal worldview, values and beliefs on an educational approach to HIV; - The role, context and function of treatment for HIV with reference to the influence of stigma and discrimination in SA; - The need for sensitive and diverse health messaging; - Experiential insight into the challenges South Africans living with HIV face on a daily basis; - A diverse perspective on sexuality and how these views can influence appropriate sexuality education. Please note that there is a limit as to how many students can be accommodated for this course.
Course Code and Credits: History 144/244 (3)
Course Title: Survey of South African History
Course Description:
Topics include: the settlement of population groups in South Africa; the historical significance of 19th century migrations; the Mineral Revolution and its impact on modern South Africa; Afrikaner nationalism as a historical factor; segregation and apartheid; black nationalism and politics in the 20th century; South Africa and the outside world.
Course Code and Credits: History 241/341 (3)
Course Title: South African History
Course Description:
An overview of the political and economic history of South Africa. A study of South African history from the early history of black people to the development of apartheid and South Africa as a developing country in Africa.
Course Code and Credits: History 244/344 (3)
Course Title: Africa and South Africa: Colonization and the Re-ordering of Societies
Course Description:
Topics include: Africa and the West in the 19th century; colonial policies in Africa; political, cultural and economic impact of the colonialization of Africa in the 19th century; South Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries; the political and cultural dynamics of the 18th and 19th century Cape societies; the establishment of new black empires and white republics in the interior in the 19th century; and the Mineral Revolution: the making of a new political and cultural society.
Course Code and Credits: Mandarin 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Mandarin for Beginners
Course Description:
After completing the Mandarin course, a student should have a basic knowledge of contemporary life in the People’s Republic of China and be able to: talk about himself/herself, his/her life and surroundings, the weather, likes and dislikes and other basic con¬versational topics; read approximately 200 Chinese characters; understand and react to a basic conversation in Mandarin and write a short note. This course is offered for beginners; no prior knowledge of Mandarin is required. It is not for degree purposes.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 142/242 (3)
Course Title: South African Politics
Course Description:
The process of political transition to democracy in South Africa, party policies, elections, the interim government of national unity and the constitutions of 1993 and 1996.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 152/252 (3)
Course Title: Introduction to African Politics
Course Description:
State formation in Africa: the delimitation of land and boundaries; population composition and independence; the influence of external factors such as colonialism on state formation; decolonization and its internal dynamics, e.g. nationalism and resistance; the classification of modern African systems, e.g. multiparty, one-party, Marxist and military regimes; the most recent trends including external and internal pressure to democratize.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 244/344 (3)
Course Title: Africa and South Africa: Colonization and Re-ordering of Societies
Course Description:
Main themes are the characteristics of the South African Economy, South Africa and Africa in the context of global capitalism, South Africa’s prosperous years from 1934 to 1974, South Africa’s political and economic crisis from 1974 to 1994, the socio-economic legacy of colonialism, segregation and apartheid, the rise of the black elite and its relationships with the white elite and the black proletariat.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 312/412 (3)
Course Title: Conflict Studies
Course Description:
This course is a broad introduction to the field of conflict and peace studies with a focus on the conceptualization, the study and critical analyses of empirical cases and manifestations of actual conflicts, with specific emphasis on the African theatre. In the first half of the course, the focus is on conceptualizing political conflict and peace. In addition to this the course will evaluate and assess the determinants driving peace and conflict. The focus then shifts towards a greater understanding of the nature and structure of conflict, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between conflict, violence and peace as well as the analysis of conflict escalation and protracted social conflict. The course also pays prominent attention to the theory and practice of conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy, as well as the resolution, mediation and negotiation of international conflicts. The course also appraises the role of peacekeeping, peace operations and peace building in addressing violent conflict as well as the importance of post-conflict reconstruction, conflict transformation and critical peace assessment. The course concludes with a consideration of the several other particular manifestations of conflict and violence, other than interstate or intrastate war, as well as an appraisal of the future of conflict studies.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 314/414 (3) NEW!
Course Title: China and India on the African Continent
Course Description:
The Rise of China and India in global affairs has created a set of new impulses in international politics. Not only has the emergence of these Asian giants forced scholars of international relations to rethink their conceptual understanding of the nature of the international system today, but it has also posed significant questions of whether existing paradigms are sufficient in trying to contextualize their foreign policy behavior in the 21st Century.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 322/422 (3)
Course Title: Transitional Justice
Course Description:
Among the many challenges facing societies emerging out of war is how to address the burden of past violations of human rights. History is filled with examples of societies that choose to ignore past atrocities and then find themselves battling familiar patterns of conflict: different actors, same problems. Those societies that do choose to confront the past are in turn confronted with a variety of dilemmas: Who do you prosecute – foot soldiers, generals, politicians, ideologues or beneficiaries? How do you prosecute when the legal infrastructure has been destroyed by war? What are the risks of prosecution in an unstable society?
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 324/424 (3)
Course Title: Comparative Southern African Politics: Democratization in Africa
Course Description:
Contemporary political trends in Africa and Southern Africa (the SADC region and Africa south of the equator including Angola, Zaire, Tanzania, Mauritius and the Seychelles), patterns of democratization and election issues. South Africa compared with other countries in Africa. Case studies: Three African cases (Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa) compared with three non-African cases (China, Turkey and Russia).
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 333/433 (3)
Course Title: Negotiating Transition
Course Description:
A moment of opportunity sometimes emerges in the course of a conflict in which belligerents show signs of a willingness to break from old patterns of waging war and to consider imaginative alternatives. The rhetoric of war has become tired and unconvincing. Scenarios for transitions have not yet been envisaged but an openness is growing on-the-ground to explore alternatives to military solutions. This is the most fragile, complex and opportune moment in any peace process. It holds extraordinary potential for the design of strategic, sequenced arrangements with the capacity to grow a thoroughgoing peace. South Africa is widely acknowledged for having seized one such historic opportunity, pre-empting a final showdown and instead embracing a range of transitional options – many of which are still being developed over a decade into democracy. Numerous other societies have sought to undo deeply embedded patterns of war by establishing transitional arrangements – the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cambodia, and the Balkans - the list continues to grow as war-impacted people everywhere seek out creative alternatives to the destructivity of war. “Negotiating Transition” is designed to expose students to a range of strategies for transition beginning with the South African transition and developing comparative analysis across a wide variety of other contexts in Africa and elsewhere.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 333/433 (3)
Course Title: Negotiating Transition
Course Description:
A moment of opportunity sometimes emerges in the course of a conflict in which belligerents show signs of a willingness to break from old patterns of waging war and to consider imaginative alternatives. The rhetoric of war has become tired and unconvinc¬ing. Scenarios for transitions have not yet been envisaged but an openness is growing on-the-ground to explore alternatives to military solutions. This is the most fragile, complex and opportune moment in any peace process. It holds extraordinary potential for the design of strategic, sequenced arrangements with the capacity to grow a thoroughgoing peace. South Africa is widely acknowledged for having seized one such historic opportunity, pre-empting a final showdown and instead embracing a range of transitional options – many of which are still being developed over a decade into democracy. Numerous other societies have sought to undo deeply embedded patterns of war by establishing transi¬tional arrangements – the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cambodia, and the Balkans - the list continues to grow as war-impacted people everywhere seek out creative alternatives to the destructivity of war. “Negotiating Transition” is designed to ex¬pose students to a range of strategies for transition beginning with the South African transition and developing comparative analysis across a wide variety of other contexts in Africa and elsewhere.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 344/444 (3)
Course Title: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Course Description:
“The first casualty of war is truth,” the saying goes. And as war progresses, truth gets quickly forgotten: propaganda quickly takes over open debate, war develops its own logic – often bound up in competing grievances and justification of atrocious actions - and everyday people caught in the fighting do whatever it takes to preserve life, limb, family, a few friends .. When the fighting even¬tually stops, the winners write the history books and the losers become resentful, dreaming of a day when their version of what happened will be told. Thus, the history underlying the conflict, the original grievance, the logic of recrimination and the trauma resulting from the war itself – all this remains unaddressed. The course introduces students to the role of truth in peacemaking initiatives, develops a comparative analysis of truth seeking institu¬tions in a variety of historical contexts, including South Africa, and invites students to engage critically and strategically with a number of contemporary challenges.
Course Code and Credits: Sociology 311/411 (3)
Course Title: Politics and Cultural Change in Contemporary South Africa
Course Description:
Topics include culture, ethnocentrism and relativism, the relation¬ship between western medicine and traditional medicine, witch¬craft and the state in Africa, conquest and migrant labor in South Africa, apartheid and Africans in the city and the cultural effects of urbanization on the African family.
Course Code and Credits: Spanish 104/204 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Spanish for Beginners
Course Description:
Games, music, role-playing, movies and even some gym are used to make this learning experience fun. The content is related to every day life situations. Functional use of the language, as well as grammar, lexicon and cultural themes.
Course Code and Credits: Theology 344/444 (3)
Course Title: Public and Theology in Post Apartheid South Africa
Course Description:
The challenges of the young democratic society (state, market, civil society and the sphere of public opinion) in post apartheid South Africa is described and reflected upon from a theological perspective. Poverty, HIV/AIDS, racism, sexism, the morality crisis and the creation of a human rights culture.
Course Code and Credits: Viticulture 104/204 (1)
Course Title: Introduction to the South African Wine Industry
Course Description:
The lectures cover South African wine history, viticulture, the winemaking process and how wine works with food. Lecture 1: History of wine; Cape wine before the 20th Century; wine companies; wine industry Lecture 2: Introduction to viticulture, factors affecting wine production; wine of origin; vinification Lecture 3: Vinification; making red and white wine; sparkling and fortified wines Lecture 4: Food and wine; sensible drinking; Cape wine masters; Nose Guide
Course Code and Credits: Xhosa: Language and Culture 114/214 (2)
Course Title: Xhosa for Beginners
Course Description:
A communicative approach develops the language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, within a cultural context. Students learn the basics of the Xhosa language and culture (includes visits to various Xhosa communities, restaurants and church services).

July-November English Literature Elective Courses

Electives
Course Code and Credits: English 348/448 (2)
Course Title: Society under attack: Satirists do it with malice
Course Description:
The elective begins with a discussion of ancient Irish and Arabian satirical practices, followed by an example of eighteenth century satire, A Modest Proposal, in which Jonathan Swift ironically suggests cannibalism as a solution to the problems of overpopulation. The core of the course consists of various twentieth century satirical novels which raise important issues. Brave New World illustrates satire’s frequent concern with utopian visions (failed or otherwise) and The Madonna of Excelsior and the writing of Marlene van Niekerk use satire to confront us with the South African past. We will look at why the recent Danish satirical cartoons enraged Moslems, and discuss how successive South African governments have reacted towards satirists who target them. The course also examines political cartoons by Zapiro and others, as well as videos and CDs featuring contemporary satirists such as Mark Banks, Pieter-Dirk Uys and Ali G.Huxley.
Course Code and Credits: English 348/448 (2)
Course Title: Narratives of Migration in Contemporary African Fiction
Course Description:
In this seminar we will explore contemporary migration narratives by the Sudanese authors, Leila Aboulela and Jamal Mahjoub, and Abdulrazak Gurnah from Tanzania. In looking at particular travellers and their journeys we will gain a better understanding of migration as a common condition of the postcolonial world. Relevant postcolonial and migration studies theory will be provided alongside the primary texts.
Course Code and Credits: English 348/448 (2)
Course Title: Writing Violence: Strategies, Ethics and Aesthetics
Course Description:
This course examines the question of violence and representation in texts drawn from different geographical and historical experiences. Violence and the violated body present a crisis of representation in literature, raising a range of questions around narration, language, ethics, positioning, understanding violence and the possibilities of healing. The course will explore these issues using two novels: Yvonne Vera’s The Stone Virgins and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and three films: Fernando Meirelles’ City of God (2002), Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2006) and Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now (2005). Through these texts, which deal with different forms of violence in different socio-political settings, the course examines the aesthetic choices the writers and filmmakers make in piecing together experiences of violation into narratives. How do these writers make language bear the weight of violence? How do they engage with the challenges of potential voyeurism on violation, while retaining these narratives as works of art and beauty? How do they navigate problematic ideological terrains which underpin the forms of violence they represent? What possibilities and challenges face the respective mediums – the novel and the feature film – in the representation of violence? What possibilities of healing do the various narratives propose? These are some of the issues the course will explore.
Course Code and Credits: English 344/444 (2)
Course Title: Queer Studies: An Introduction
Course Description:
Queer studies has become a field that invites continual review of how we read and the assumptions we bring to bear when making meaning of texts. We will explore the term “Queer” and contestations around naming, desire and identity. We begin by reading stories by four South Africans and one American - Richard Rive, Shaun de Waal, Mathilda Slabbert, Natasha Distiller and Annie Proulx - to attempt “queer readings”, and to define what “queer reading” is. We the look at the ideas of Michel Foucault in his History of Sexuality Vol 1 and the final chapter from Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter to help us think through discourses on sex, sexuality, gender and textualised desire. We also view and discuss representation of sexuality in three films – Vito Russo’s Celluloid Closet, which documents Hollywood depictions of homosexuality since the start of film, as well as Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and Greyson and Lewis’s Proteus.

January-June semester courses - Taught in English

January-June semester courses
Course Code and Credits: Afrikaans: Language and Culture 104/204 (3)
Course Title: Afrikaans for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Art 106/206 (4)
Course Title: Photography
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Art 107/207 (4)
Course Title: Jewelry Design
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Art 108/208 (4)
Course Title: Drawing
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Conservation Ecology 212/312 (3)
Course Title: Conserving Nature
Course Description:
Covers the importance of biodiversity for the maintenance of ecosystems; co-evolution and the collapse of ecosystems and ecosystem services; water conservation; the tragedy of the commons and tenure issues in resource conservation; the medicinal value of biodiversity; conservation decision-making; and the role of conservation in development and policy.
Course Code and Credits: Conservation Ecology 314/414 (4)
Course Title: Biome Ecology
Course Description:
Introduces students to the major biomes that occur in South Africa, including the ecology of tropical and afromontane forests, woodlands and savannas, grasslands and other treeless regions such as karoo and deserts. Emphasis is placed on understanding what mechanisms underlie the differences in these vegetation types, plusmosaic plant growth dynamics, wildlife-habitat interactions and the management and control of biological invasions.
Course Code and Credits: Economics/Political Science 214/314 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Economic and Development Problems in South Africa and Africa
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: French 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: French for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: German 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: German for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Global Health 214/314 (3) NEW!
Course Title: HIV and AIDS: A South African Perspective 214/314
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: History 114/214 (3)
Course Title: Introduction to the Main Global Patterns and Developments in History
Course Description:
Topics include Nomadic societies, agriculture revolution and the emergence of established societies, the development of complex societies, the emergence of modernity and the industrial revolution, the historical construction of the modern globalizing world.
Course Code and Credits: History 214/314 (3)
Course Title: Key Processes in the Making of Western History
Course Description:
Topics include: State formation, the renaissance and revolutions; origins of the modern state; the renaissance as a cultural phenomenon; origins, dynamics and impact of historical revolutions; wealth and poverty in western history; and perspectives on systems such as socialism, capitalism and communism.
Course Code and Credits: History 241/341 (3)
Course Title: South African History
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: History 244/344 (3)
Course Title: Africa and South Africa: Colonization and Re-ordering of Societies
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: History 318/418 (3)
Course Title: Wars, Decolonization and Globalization
Course Description:
Subjects discussed are international relations and cultural change; the social and cultural dimensions of WWI; the outbreak, course and aftermath of WWII; ecological problems in historical perspective; the Cold War; independence movements in Africa and India and Africa in a globalizing world.
Course Code and Credits: Mandarin 114/214 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Mandarin for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 244/344 (3)
Course Title: Africa and South Africa: Colonization and the Re-ordering of Societies
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 312/412 (3) NEW!
Course Title: Conflict Studies
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 314/414 (3) NEW!
Course Title: China and India on the African Continent
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 322/422 (3)
Course Title: Transitional Justice
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 324/424 (3)
Course Title: Comparative Southern African Politics: Democratization in Africa
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 333/433 (3)
Course Title: Negotiating Transition
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 334/434 (3)
Course Title: Transitional Justice
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 336/436 (3)
Course Title: Truth Commissions
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Political Science 344/444 (3)
Course Title: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Sociology 311/411 (3)
Course Title: Politics and Cultural Change in Contemporary South Africa
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Spanish 114/214 (2) NEW!
Course Title: Spanish for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Theology 344/444 (3)
Course Title: Public Theology in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Viticulture 104/204 (1)
Course Title: Introduction to the South African Wine Industry
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.
Course Code and Credits: Xhosa: Language and Culture 114/214 (2)
Course Title: Xhosa for Beginners
Course Description:
See description under July-November semester courses.

January-June English Literature Elective Courses

The following are taught as lecture courses or electives. Lectures are formal, with no written work, but require a final test. Electives are seminars, in small discussion groups with written work and one major essay.

Electives
Course Code and Credits: English 314/414 (2)
Course Title: Women Writers Interrogating Empire
Course Description:
In this elective we shall be employing the term “empire” to refer to various but pervasive, encompassing and insidious forms of power, examining how a range of women writers have depicted, analysed and interrogated the ‘empire/s’ they were confronted with. The three novels used for class discussion are Beloved by Toni Morrison (Penguin U.S.A./Picador), The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Flamingo) and Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga ( Women’s Press), while we shall also be considering relevant theoretical perspectives articulated by Trinh T. Minh-ha (Woman/Native/Other); Maria Pia Lara (Moral Textures …) and T.C. Bambara (Deep Sightings …). The political, gendered and racialised aspects of ‘empire/s’ will be discussed as well as issues of repression and representation (often intertwined).
Course Code and Credits: English 314/414 (2)
Course Title: African-American experiences
Course Description:
This course examines African American experiences as portrayed in the fiction of four major writers in the African American canon: Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin. Among the thematic concerns explored are questions of race, violence, family, trauma, healing, religion and sexuality. The primary readings include both autobiographical and fictional texts, by male and female African American writers. The seminar will explore issues such as what snippets of experiences do the various writers explore? What insights do these give into broader historical and socio-political landscapes? What overlaps and tensions are there in the various writers’ perspectives on these issues? What stylistic choices do the writers make? How do these impact on the texts’ treatment of such difficult issues such as violence, race, trauma and sexuality?
Course Code and Credits: English 314/414 (2)
Course Title: From Kabul to Beirut, via Tel Aviv: Contemporary Middle Eastern Literature in English
Course Description:
In this seminar we will read three novels from a growing field of contemporary literature written in English which has in recent years become more visible. Reacting against popular media portrayals of the Middle East, these talented writers create narratives that engage with particular conflicts, past and present, within regional and national geographies but also with an acute awareness of global connections in a post 9/11 world. We will be asking ourselves how these writings inflect and comment on debates about political, ethnic and religious affiliations and what they say about trans/international trajectories. We will ‘travel’ from Afghanistan (Hosseini’s The Kite Runner), to the Lebanon (Alameddine’s The Hakawati) and to Israel (Khadra’s The Attack). Students who take this elective will also be expected to watch two films: Tiger in the Snow (2006, dir. Roberto Benigni) and In This World (2003, dir. Michael Winterbottom).
Course Code and Credits: English 314/414 (2)
Course Title: Queer studies: An Introduction
Course Description:
Queer studies has become a field that invites continual review of how we read and the assumptions we bring to bear when making meaning of texts. We will explore the term “Queer” and contestations around naming, desire and identity. We begin by reading stories by four South Africans and one American - Richard Rive, Shaun de Waal, Mathilda Slabbert, Natasha Distiller and Annie Proulx - to attempt “queer readings”, and to define what “queer reading” is. We the look at the ideas of Michel Foucault in his History of Sexuality Vol 1 and the final chapter from Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter to help us think through discourses on sex, sexuality, gender and textualised desire. We also view and discuss representation of sexuality in three films – Vito Russo’s Celluloid Closet, which documents Hollywood depictions of homosexuality since the start of film, as well as Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and Greyson and Lewis’s Proteus.
Course Code and Credits: English 314/414 (2)
Course Title: Sexing the Screen – Gender in Film
Course Description:
This course explores gendered identities as presented in film. Adopting an historical and theoretical approach, we will focus on the ways in which gender is signified in film, how gender is implicated in the cinematic gaze, and how sexuality in cinema informs, reflects or subverts generic conventions and the larger context surrounding the film. We will discuss “hard-boiled” masculinity and the femme fatale in film noir; gender and the gaze in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Vertigo; cross-dressing and trans-gendered identities in Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot and Pedro Almodovar’s All About my Mother; fantasy, desire and “ the phallus incarnate” in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive; performativity and black masculinity in Hijack Stories; as well as “women who fight”, and the cinematic gendering of dance, martial arts and of the Orient in Zhang Yimou’s The House of Flying Daggers (2004). The course will introduce students to theoretical perspectives on sexuality and gender by commentators such as Laura Mulvey, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek (this includes reading Zizek’s work and watching The Perverts Guide to Cinema, which features the inimitable Zizek talking about psychoanalysis and classic films). Please note that class session for this elective will occupy three hours. This is to accommodate showings of films.