Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course, but French language concentrators should have taken 21G.028 African Migrations or have the permission of the instructor.

Course Description

This course examines contemporary and historical cultural production on and from Africa across a range of registers, including literary, musical, and visual arts, material culture, and science and technology. We employ key theoretical concepts from anthropology and social theory to analyze these forms and phenomena, and historical perspectives help to both situate contemporary cultural production and to interrogate the future directions of African being in the world. Anchoring our discussions in case studies, we consider how Africa’s place in and relationship to the global is articulated through creative practices. The course shows creative cultures and cultural production as not only aesthetic or functional, but also thoroughly political. We explore cases from throughout the continent.

The course is taught in English; French language concentrators have the option to complete additional assignments in French.

Required Readings

Required readings are listed in the Readings and Videos section.


Reading responses (weekly, 10 total) 20%
Presentation of readings (1) 20%
Paper  20%
Final project


(20% for project + 10% for project presentation)

Class participation

The class will run largely on discussion, so I expect you to come having completed the readings and ready to discuss the material with your classmates!


For further detail on the activities above, see the Assignments section.

Academic Integrity

MIT students are expected to adhere to MIT’s Academic Integrity policies. All work (research papers, weekly papers, presentations) must be completed independently. Students are encouraged to discuss the readings and their projects with each other (they may, for example, want to practice their presentations for their classmates), but they are individually responsible for all written work.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
co_present Instructor Insights