2014 Penn in Grahamstown: SEEING/HEARING AFRICA

This course begins in the spring—students engage with South African performance and political history; the history of the festival in Grahamstown; and listen closely to the history of South African jazz. They are given guidelines for writing about live performances; students discuss program choices; and spend sometime talking about travel to South Africa and the lived experience of two weeks at the National Arts Festival. Everyone travels to the National Arts Festival in late June and spends two weeks attending live performances (4-6 per day), blogging on the performances, and discussing these experiences with the Professor & fellow students. We visit a game park and do a “township tour” as part of the two weeks in the Eastern Cape. On returning home, students have about 4 weeks to write a substantial paper on the festival experience. While this is primarily a music class, the National Arts Festival includes all kinds of performance—theater, music, dance, and visual arts. This is two weeks of total immersion in the arts, and thinking deeply about the place of the arts in contemporary life and society.