WGS 340 • History of AIDS in Africa-W
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
This course examines the history of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa from the 1980s to the present. A special emphasis of the course will trace the early theories of the AIDS epidemic and compare these "theories" with a broader history concerning the Western gaze and fascination with African sexualized bodies. To fully examine the evolution and spread of AIDS in Africa, the course will focus on regional case studies to evaluate the impact of this catastrophic disease on the diverse African economies, political systems, cultural traditions, gender relations, religious beliefs, educational institutions, global markets, tourism enterprises, as well as the taxing images of the African continent. Too often, our understanding of AIDS in Africa is shaped by misperceptions and myths presented by the Western media. Therefore, this course will consciously move beyond the myths to explore difficult questions and realities about the ever-changing history of AIDS in Africa.
The goal of this course is to develop critical thinking, writing, and reading skills to reconstruct history by using a variety of sources to develop an understanding and appreciation for the study of African History. Students should keep in mind, throughout the course, that while chronology and evidence represent essential components to "doing history," history is mainly about asking good questions and thinking critically about the past. It is also indicative of the way in which we think about ourselves and the world we live in. If one goal of this course is to help students learn to think more historically, in general, another is to increase one's understanding of the forces that shape contemporary Africa today.