A number of classes taught at the University of Chicago feature Africa prominently, see below for a sampling. Check the Course Catalogue for current offerings. African Civilization is taught on an annual basis, as is the Colonizations Core, which may also be of interest to students studying Africa.


ANTH20703/HIST10103/CRES20303: Introduction to African Civilization III | Ayodeji Olugbuyiro or Samuel Daly

This course examines Africa and the African diaspora in the modern era. Topics may include the end of colonialism and decolonization, the legacies of slavery and its racial logics, identity and cultural expression, theories of personhood, gender and sexuality, migration, governance, and language. Readings vary widely, including primary sources by African and diasporic authors, social theory, and works of art and literature – written, spoken, and performed.

LING28356/LING38356: Linguistic Introduction to Swahili II | Fidele Mpiranya

Based on Swahili Grammar and Workbook, this course is a continuation of Linguistic Introduction to Swahili I. It addresses complex issues related to grammatical agreement, verb moods, noun and verb derivation, non-typical adjectives and adverbs, double object constructions, subordinate / coordinated clause constructions, and dialectal variation. Additionally, this course provides important listening and expressive reading skills. For advanced students, historical interpretations are offered for exceptional patterns observed in Swahili, in relation with other Bantu languages. This course allows fulfilling the non-Indo-European language requirement.

SWAH25400/SWAH35400: Swahili III | Fidele Mpiranya

Swahili is the most popular language of Sub-Saharan Africa, spoken in most countries of Eastern and Central Africa by more than 50 million people. Swahili is characterized by the typical complex Bantu structure. However, it is particularly easy to pronounce and fast learned. The Elementary Swahili series is designed to help students acquire communicative competence in Swahili and a basic understanding of its structures. The course presents basic phonological, grammatical, and syntactic patterns of Kiswahili. Through a variety of exercises, students develop communicative functionality in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Emphasis is put on dialogues and role-plays, individual and group presentations, and the use of audiovisual and web-based resources. Swahili culture and African culture in general are an important component of the course. At the end of the elementary course series, the students are able to communicate efficiently in everyday life situations, write and present short descriptive notes about elementary pieces of verbal creation (documentaries and video series in Swahili). This course allows fulfilling the non-Indo-European language requirement.

SWAH 27000/SWAH37000: Intermediate Swahili III | Fidele Mpiranya

Students focus on broadening their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in this course.

CMLT22900/CMLT42900/CMST24201/CMST34201/ENGL27600/ENGL47600/GNSE28602/GNSE48602/RDIN27600/RDIN37600: Cinema in Africa | Loren Kruger

This course examines Africa in film as well as films produced in Africa. It places cinema in Sub Saharan Africa in its social, cultural, and aesthetic contexts ranging from neocolonial to postcolonial, Western to Southern Africa, documentary to fiction, art cinema to TV, and includes films that reflect on the impact of global trends in Africa and local responses, as well as changing racial and gender identifications. We will begin with La Noire de… (1966), by the “father” of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene, contrasted w/ a South African film, African Jim (1960) that more closely resembles African American musical film, and anti-colonial and anti-apartheid films from Lionel Rogosin’s Come Back Africa (1959) to Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga, Sembene’s Camp de Thiaroye (1984), and Jean Marie Teno’s Afrique, Je te Plumerai (1995). The rest of the course will examine 20th and 21st century films such as I am a not a Witch and The wound (both 2017), which show tensions between urban and rural, traditional and modern life, and the implications of these tensions for women and men, Western and Southern Africa, in fiction, documentary and fiction film. (20th/21st)

ISLM33271/KNOW33271/NEHC20271/NEHC33271/RLST20271: Islamic Education in West Africa | Abubakar Abdulkadir

This course will critically explore the history of Islamic scholarship and the transmission of religious knowledge and scholarly authority in West African Muslim societies from the late medieval period to the present day. We will examine a variety of knowledge traditions, textual and pedagogical approaches, epistemologies, and embodied practices of Muslim scholars and students of the region in order to understand what it means to seek, transmit, and create knowledge in the context of West African Muslim societies. In addition to relevant secondary literature, we will read passages from some of the texts taught in these places. Intermediate Arabic is recommended, but not required for this course.

Please email Ryan Eykholt with any questions.