2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
ENGL5343M Africas of the Mind
30 creditsClass Size: 10
Module manager: Dr Brendon Nicholls
Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable
Year running 2019/20
This module is not approved as an Elective
ObjectivesAfricas 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'.
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.
Close reading, critical thinking, oral and written analysis, seminar interaction with peers, guided independent research, production of a 4,000 word essay.
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, Head and Maseko).
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||280.00|
|Total Contact hours||20.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||300.00|
Private studyReading, researching, essay writing: 280 hours.
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackVia unassessed essay, unassessed class presentation and consultation hours.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||1 x 4,000 word essay||100.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 30/04/2019
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