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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5343M Africas of the Mind

30 creditsClass Size: 10

For full module descriptions of our MA modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Postgraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Module manager: Dr Brendon Nicholls
Email: b.l.nicholls@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is not approved as an Elective

Objectives

Africas of the Mind will explore how a number of diverse constructions of African experience reveal what we might call 'the political organisation of the psyche'.

Students will consider the theoretical problems involved in applying psychoanalysis to African contexts and at the politically suspect uses of colonial psychiatry.

Students will move on to read literary and cultural texts with a situated psychoanalytic approach and conclude by assessing the viability of an 'indigenous psychoanalysis'.

Learning outcomes
This course is designed less to produce knowledge than understanding, specifically of the primary literary texts and what they reveal about the various conceptual relationships outlined above.

Skills outcomes
Close reading, critical thinking, oral and written analysis, seminar interaction with peers, guided independent research, production of a 4,000 word essay.


Syllabus

This module will explore how a number of diverse constructions of African experience reveal what we might call “the political organisation of the psyche”. We will begin by looking at some of the theoretical problems involved in applying psychoanalysis to African contexts and at the politically suspect uses of colonial psychiatry. We will consider Frantz Fanon’s culturally- and historically-situated psychoanalytic work as one way of avoiding such difficulties. We will investigate Africa as it is imagined or fantasised in colonial discourses (in writing on Mau Mau and on the “Hottentot Venus”) and we will ask what investments are at work in these representations. We will examine how texts of cultural nationalism (Ngugi) attempt to reinvent or rehabilitate African identities. By way of contrast, we shall see how fiction registers the brutality of post-independence conflict (Saro-Wiwa). We will ask whether contemporary African experiences of genocide (Tadjo) offer a critical perspective on Fanonian violence. Since the colonial inheritance has been a debilitating force in many African societies, it follows that literary texts may register historical pain and socially-embedded malaises. Therefore, we will investigate examples of the cultural logic of psychopathological symptoms (Sachs, Dangarembga and Maseko).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminar102.0020.00
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Reading, researching, essay writing: 280 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Via unassessed essay, unassessed class presentation and consultation hours.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000 word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/04/2017

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