Penn African Studies Newsletter, 11/12/'95

Penn African Studies Newsletter, 11/12/'95

McDaniel and Moudileno to Teach Graduate African Studies Seminar

"Africa and the African Diaspora" is the theme of the graduate African Studies seminar and lecture series for Spring semester 1996. It will be taught by Drs. Antonio McDaniel (a.k.a. Tukufu Zuberi) and Lydie Moudileno. They write:

In this seminar, we want to re-think the historical, political and cultural relationship between Africa and the African Diaspora. Since the term "African Diaspora" posits "Africa" as a "matrix" from which people were disseminated around the world, our major task will be to interrogate Africa as the projected center that in turn allows for the projection of a community outside it.

We will look mainly at issues of positionality, representation, history, and culture. We have organized the course around two themes: 1) discourses on/ from Africa and the African Diaspora which will include discussion on the works of C.L.R. James, St. Claire Drake, W.E.B. DuBois, Cheikh Anta Diop, Paul Gilroy, and Abdias Do Nascimento 2) literary texts which envision diverse modes of cultural affirmation. For this theme, the study of fiction will be limited to works originally written in French, which will include works by Rene Maran, Aime Cesaire, L.S. Senghor, Bernard Dadie, and Maryse Conde.

In addition, a number of distinguished speakers will be invited to enhance the debate on specific issues as part of the African Studies Spring Lecture Series.

What's New on the Web

During the month of October 1995, the African Studies WWW was consulted 253,980 times by users from businesses, the military, government, international organizations, Europe, the Pacific Rim and where connected to Sub-Saharan Africa. The first on-line, March 1993, the WWW was consulted 799 times. The following major projects were added to the WWW resources in October:

1) Africa Book Collective Ltd.- ABC is an organization that is composed of 48 African publishing companies. ABC aims to communicate African culture, heritage, and scholarship, and to promote intercultural understanding. The stocklist of the ABC cover areas such as" education, economy, politics, children's' books, science and technology, etc. The complete list of books is now available from the following URL:

2) African Library Resources at Penn- This is the first edition of a resource guide that is intended to help undergraduates and others interested in using Penn's libraries for the purpose of study of and research on Africa. It contains a list of all African resources at Penn, in the social sciences and the humanities. This resource is now accessible from the following URL:

3) The African Studies Association- This section provides all the necessary information about the ASA, including the program of Orlando meeting in Nov. 1995 and panels' papers of the Electronic Technology Group, which is an affiliate of the ASA. The URL for the ASA and the ETG is:


Intro. African Studies Course Taught on Four Campuses

This fall, the Introduction to African Studies interdisciplinary seminar is being coordinated by Lee Cassanelli (Department of History, University of Pennsylvania) and Raymond Hopkins (Department of Political Science, Swarthmore College). This is the first time Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr/ Haverford students have participated.

Each weekly seminar includes a guest lecture by a faculty member from the campus of the host institution and a general discussion of the week's theme by the coordinators. Topics range from colonial legacies to recent civil wars. The aim is to introduce undergraduates to the wide variety of approaches and resources available for the study of modern Africa.

Transportation is provided for students, and between class meetings the members of the seminar communicate with the instructors (and each other) via e- mail. Members of the seminar have been assigned projects that require them to use the African Studies World-Wide, to view videos that are put on reserve on all four campuses, and to consult with faculty members whose fields of interests coincide with their own.

The multi-campus seminar will continue next year. Professors Harry Glickman (Department of Political Science, Haverford College) and Barbara Cooper (Department of History, Bryn Mawr College) will coordinate the seminar in the fall semester of 1996.

Eric Tienou, a member of the class, commented that it is difficult for specialized scholars to teach an introductory class, but a combination of team teaching and guest speakers may offer a solution to this problem. As a senior economics and international studies major and African Studies minor, Tienou believes that each week, students are challenged to think beyond their own disciplines.

Most of the 29 students in the course already have taken other Africa Studies courses or have had experiences in Africa. (Five or six of the students are of African origins.)

Tienou also noted that traveling to four places gives many of the students an opportunity to see other campuses in the consortium and meet new people. However, he expressed the hope that in the near future the class will go multimedia and that commuting will be replaced by distance learning technology.

Upcoming Events in African Studies... Mark Your Calendars

November 18, 1995- African Language Cultural Awareness Festival:

African food prepared by students of African languages and their teachers

Talk of "Human Rights in African Indigenous Cultures' by Rev. Kobina Ofosu- Donkoh (discussion to follow)

Fashion show by African language students and teachers

Student presentations

203 MacNeil Building

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

December 1, 1995- Lecture Series

"The Passions and the Interests: The Synergies of Economic and Political Change in Tanzania"

Tom Callaghy, Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania<

420 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania

noon - 1:30 pm

1:30 pm- lunch with speaker (all are invited)

The following articles were written by African Language Instructors to introduce their home regions to the African Studies community. Eight languages are being taught this semester: Swahili, Yoruba, Amharic, Twi, Shona, Oshiwambo, Mende, and Bamanankan. Four of them are introduced here; the remaining will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.


by Mr. Ben Shipanga, Oshiwambo instructor

Oshiwambo is one of the main languages spoken in Namibia, especially in the Northern Region. Oshiwambo is a language of the Owambo people who make up more than half of the population of the country. The language is taught in schools from Kindergarten to high school. It is used in newspapers as well as in the national radio. Important books and documents such as the bible and the country's Constitution and Bill of Rights have been translated in Oshiwambo.


by Rev. Kobina Ofosu-Donkoh, Twi instructor

The Twi language is one of the major languages that constitute the family of Akan languages in West Africa. It is spoken predominantly in Ghana, West Africa, by about 85 percent of the Ghanaian population (both native and non-native speakers). However, native Twi speakers constitute about 45 percent of the population of Ghana, whereas native Akan speakers, in general, form about 60 percent of that country's population.

The Twi language was first written in the 1840s by European Presbyterian missionaries, using the Latin alphabets (a, b, c, d, etc.). Since then, many research books and articles have been written in Twi by both Ghanaian and European authors. Twi is thus a language of scholarship as well as a major research language in African studies. As such, it fulfills foreign language requirements in many US graduate programs. The linguistic beauty of Twi lies not only in its tonal system and the effect it has on the meanings of words and phrases, but also in the root (literal) meanings from which derive such words and phrases.


by Mrs. Angela Jengo, Mende instructor

The Mende are the largest ethnic group of thirteen in Sierra Leone. They originated from the Futa Jallon regions and migrated into the area now called Sierra Leone during the sixteenth century. Their migration was prompted by the oppression of the Fulani in the Futa Jallon who were newly converted to Islam and considered the Mende and other ethnic groups in the region to be pagans. Because the Mende were forest dwellers, wild game hunters and rice farmers, they moved southwest to the Forest.

Very little is known about the early history of the Mende. This is partially because the region in which they first settled did not attract the attention of Europeans. The onset of the slave trade and the invasions by the Mandingo, who were also pushed from the Futa Jallon, resulted in social instability among the Mende. War-making became the vital part of life and warriors gained increasing authority and influence.

Proficient Mende warriors conquered small regions and set themselves up as chiefs, giving rise to chiefdoms, as we know them today in Sierra Leone. There are three distinguishable groups of the Mende: the Kpa, Koor and Wajama. Geographically, the "Kpa" Mende occupy the southwest region. The word "kpa" is derived from the word "kpee" which connotes straightness, wickedness and resoluteness to fighting. The "Koor" Mende on the other hand occupy the eastern region. The word "koor" means up country. The "Wajamas" sometimes are referred to as "Galhinas." They presently occupy the Southeastern region and are believed to have come from the Vai-speaking areas of present-day Republic of Liberia.


by Ms. Umkulthum (Umi) Himid, Swahili instructor

Swahili is a language which is widely spoken in East Africa. As a first language, it is spoken along the east coast, i.e. from southern Somalia to Mozambique- Tanzania border and the islands of Zanzibar, Pembe, Mafia, Lamu, and the Comores; and most of East African urban areas.

Swahili is a Bantu language. Other Bantu languages include Zulu which is spoken in South Africa, Kikuyu of Kenya, Kongo of Zaire, and Duala of Cameroon. Although Bantu languages are not mutually intelligible, they all derive from one common ancestral language, sharing vocabulary, word processes, and sentence structure. For example, the word for 'a person' is: Mtu (Swahili), Umuntu (Zulu), Mundu (Kikuyu), Muntu (Kongo), Moto (Duala). Because Swahili is spoken over such a wide, ethnically and linguistically diverse area, many local variations can be observed.

Swahili has borrowed a great deal of its vocabulary from Arabic and from other languages such as Portuguese, Indian (Persian and Hindi), German, and English. This is because of contact with Arab and Indian traders, missionaries, settlers, explorers, and colonialists. Borrowing is becoming common not only to Swahili but to other languages. Despite extensive borrowing, Swahili still remains a Bantu language in its basic structure and core vocabulary. This attests to the cultural flexibility of Swahili in adapting to new situations and circumstances. It is a factor which has contributed to Swahili being not only the national and official language in several East Africa countries, but it has also given it an international reputation.

if you have any...questions, comments, complaints, compliments, suggestions, or submissions for the Newsletter, please direct them to Edda Fields in the African Studies Center, 642 Williams Hall, 898-6971 or by e-mail at

New African Studies Courses for Spring 1996


Dr. Steven Feierman

This course is a history of health and healing from the nineteenth century (just before European colonial conquest) until today. Students will study health, disease and healing in the context of social and economic change. The course covers not only the spread of biomedicine, but also the history of "traditional" healers and of healing within African religious movements. Disease and malnutrition are also studies in a wider context, including changes in work, family, and farming. No background in African history is necessary.


Dr. Steven Feierman

This course examines social movements among Africans under colonial rule. It lets us see how Africans understood colonial control, how they used old forms of organization and communication for purposes of resistance and how they developed new social forms during the act of resistance. In addition, the course explores how historians create history by first examining primary sources and then secondary sources by historians, so students read them from the viewpoint of practitioners.


Dr. Kwame Gyeke

This course will critically examine concepts in African social and moral thought in the traditional setting as well as in the contemporary world. The topics that will be discussed will include: the humanistic foundation of African morality, the relation between morality and religion, the relation between morality and religion, the place of character (moral virtue) in African moral thought, the individual and social order, communitarian moral and political theory, person and community, concepts of humanity and brotherhood, the ideology of the so- called "African socialism," chiefship and political values (democratic features of the traditional African political thought and practices), problems of pursuing democratic politics in contemporary Africa, and so on.


Dr. Kwame Gyeke

This course will philosophically examine the complex or problems related to ethnicity and ethnic identity. The topics to be discussed will include: the invention of ethnicity (is the ethnic group more than a cultural group?), ethnicity as a concept and as a source of strength or source of conflict, the role which ethnicity plays in identities, nationhood, nation-building, nationalism (ethnocentrism), culture, multiculturalism, and metanationality.


Dr. Dan Izevbaye

A study of a variety of African narrative traditions in a historical setting. Texts to be studied include autobiographies, novels and various oral narrative genres. Books for this course will be chosen from the following : Things Fall Apart, The Strong Breed in Three Plays, Collected Plays, Ozide, The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, The Joys of Motherhood, A Grain of Wheat, Maru, A Naked Needle, Poems of Black Africa, and African Short Stories.

AFRICAN MUSIC & DANCE: AFST 210; day and time TBA

Dr. Botwe-Asamaoh

This introductory course explores the unity of diversity manifested by language, music and dance in the life of African people. Dance and music as a dimension of life, the role of dance in the community, and the concept of music and dance as play will be explored. Fundamentals of African music and dance will be taught: such as, theory, technique, selected body movements, performance organization, characteristics of African rhythm through regulative beat, handclapping and footstomping.




African Studies Center/ Lynette Loose- 898-6971

Dr. Sandra Barnes- 898-3921

Ali Denar- 898-6610

Dr. Alwiya Omar- 8984299

Graduate Assistants and Work Study Students- 898-3883



University of Pennsylvania Course List for Spring, 1996

Africa-focused Courses

(If registering through PARIS: AFST = 010)

AFST 075 40 Africa to 180 MW 2:00-3:00 Cassanelli

Cross List: HIST 075, AFAM 075

Fulfills General Requirement: History & Tradition

AMES 166 401 The Religion of Ancient Egypt W 4:30-7:10 Redford

Cross List: AMES 468

Fulfills Distribution 1: Society HIST 206 303 Resistance in Africa W 3:00-600 Feierman Fulfills Distribution 2: History & Tradition AFST 210 401 African Music & Dance TBA Botwe- Asamaoh Cross List: MUSC 210 AFST 214 401 Societies & Cultures of Africa W 2:00-5:00 Kopytoff Cross List: ANTH 214, AFAM 214 Fulfills Distribution 1: Society AFST 282 301 African Social & Moral Thought TR 3:00-4:30 Gyekye Cross List: PHIL 282 AFST 283 401 Anglophone African Literature MWF Izevbaye Cross List: ENGL 280, AFAM 283 10:00-11:00 Fulfills Distribution 3 - Arts & Letters AFST 325 401 Health & Healing in Africa TR 1:30-3:00 Feierman Cross List: HSSC 305, HIST 305 AFST 455 401 African Folklore TR10:30-12:00 Ben-Amos Cross list: AFAM 455, FOLK 455 Fulfills Distribution 2 - History & Tradition AMES 468 401 The Religion of Ancient Egypt W 4:30-7:10 Redford Cross List: AMES 468 Fulfills Distribution 1: Society AFST 489 401 Ethnicity, Identity & Nationhood M 3:00-6:00 Gyekye Cross List: PHIL 489, AFAM 489 AFST 542 401 West African State, R 1:30-3:30 Barnes Society & Culture Cross List: ANTH 542, AFAM 542 AMES 547 401 Egypt & Canaan During the TBA Oren Bronze Age Fulfills Distribution 2: History & Tradition AFST 572 401 Anglophone African Literature M12:00-3:00 Staff Cross List: ENGL 572, COML 572, AFAM 572 AFST 614 401 Anthropology of Africa W 2:00-5:00 Kopytoff Cross List: ANTH 614, AFAM 614 AFST 701 401 African Studies Seminar: F 2:00-5:00 McDaniel/ Africa & the African Diaspora" Moudileno Cross List: SOCI 701, FREN 698 LANGUAGES (offered through Penn Language Center) Swahili: AFST 181 680 - Elementary Swahili II TR 6:30 - 8:45 Omar Cross List: AFAM 171, LING 171 AFST 281 680 - Intermediate Swahili II MW Himid Cross List: AFAM 281, LING 281 6:30 - 8:45 AFST 285 680 - Advanced Swahili II MW 6:30 - 8:45 Omar Cross List: AFAM 285, LING 285 Fulfills Distribution 1: Society Yoruba: AFST 171 680 - Elementary Yoruba II MW 6:30 - 8:45 TBA Cross List: AFAM 171, LING 171 AFST 271 680 - Intermediate Yoruba II TR 6:30 - 8:45 TBA Cross List: AFAM 271, LING 271 African Language AFST 490 680, LING 490 680 Tutorials: (Elementary I tutorials) AFST 491 680, LING 491 680 (Elementary II tutorials) - Elementary Amharic TBA Hailu -Elementary Bambara TBA Bamba - Elementary Mende TBA Jengo - Elementary Oshivambo TBA Shipanga - Elementary Shona TBA Sibanda - Elementary Twi TBA Ofosu-Donkoh Arabic:AMES 030 001 - Elementary Arabic I&II MTWRF Al-Ghundour 12:00-1:00 AMES 030 680 - Elementary Arabic II TR 6:30-8:45 Allouche AMES 030 680 - Intermediate Arabic TR 6:30-8:45 Kilany AMES 031 001 - Intermediate Arabic I&II MTWRF Kilany 12:00-1:00 AMES 033 001 - Advanced Intermediate Arabic TR 10:30-12:00 Al-Ghandour W 4:30-6:00 Egyptian:AFST 460 401 - Middle Egyptian TBA Staff Cross List: AMES 460 AFST 563 401 - Old Egyptian T 10:30-12:00 Doxey Cross List: AMES 563 R 1:00-2:30 Africa-related Courses: AFST 090 401 Women & Literature MWF 12:00 - 1:00 Salazar Fulfills Distribution 3: Arts & Letters CPLN 437 001 Human Settlement Planning R 1:30-4:30 Hoek-Smit in Developing Countries Cross List: CPLN 737 001 CPLN 438 401 Field Research Methods in F 9:00-12:00 Hoek-Smit Developing Countries Cross List: CPLN 738 401 ECON 760 001 Development Economics: M 6:00-9:00 Behrman Basic Micro Topics FOLK 530 401 Afro-American Folklore M 10:00-12:00 Roberts Fulfills Distribution 2: History & Tradition HIST 011 001 The World - 1750 to the Present MW 1:00-2:00 Ramaswamy Fulfills General Requirement: History & Tradition MUSC 022 401 World Music & Cultures TR 10:30-12:00 Buenconsejo Fulfills General Requirement A: Arts & Letters PSCI 116 601 Political Change in the Third M 6:30-9:10 Hornstein World Fulfills Distribution 1: Society PSCI 532 301 The Political Economy of W 10:00-1:00 Callaghy North-South Relations Fulfills General Requirement 1: History & Tradition

For additional information, contact the African Studies Center, 642 Williams Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305 Telephone(s): 898-6871 or 898-3883; or e-mail: October, 1995


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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