Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Omoniyi Afolabi


Associate ProfessorPh.D, Luso-Brazilian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese and Department of African & African Diaspora Studies
Omoniyi Afolabi

Contact

Interests


Afro-Brazilian cultural studies; Lusophone African literature; comparative African diaspora studies

Courses


LAS 328 • Afro-Luso-Brazilian Worlds

40293 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CAL 221
(also listed as AFR 374E, PRC 320E)

OBJECTIVES

  1. Introduce students to the richness and diversity of the Afro-Luso-Brazilian worlds.
  2. Engage students on some of the main myths and realities of these worlds through a comparison of issues that connect and distinguish these worlds.
  3. Get students excited about these worlds that they will want to study, live, or visit any of them.

 

DESCRIPTION

            The notion of a “Portuguese commonwealth” has always been an imperial desire of Portugal to the extent of justifying conquest and subjugation in the so-called “colonies” through varying tropical mythologies.  Even after independence, Portugal continued to exercise tremendous cultural and political influences on its former colonies, namely, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, etc.  This course engages some of the myths and realities in the Afro-Luso-Brazilian worlds while at the same time drawing connections and contrasts between them.  In addition to a contextual survey of the “triangle,” we will examine some of the strategies adopted by the colonized to decolonize their minds through multidisciplinary case studies.  Drawing upon a mix of theoretical, cultural, historical, sociological, and literary readings, we will tease out the vibrant affinities or/and tensions between Africa and Brazil, Africa and Portugal, Brazil and Portugal, Portugal and Asia, etc.  We will foreground our discussions with the concepts of Luso-Tropicalism and Postcolonialism while reflecting on the myth of racial harmony in the Lusophone Atlantic world.  Readings will include representative texts such as New World in the Tropics, Brazilian Mosaic, Racism in a Racial Democracy, Angola Under the Portuguese, and Sleepwalking Land.

  

 REQUIRED READINGS

  1. Summ, G. Harvey.  Brazilian Mosaic.  Wilmington: SR Books, 1995.  ISBN #0842024921
  2. Bender, Gerald.  Angola Under the Portuguese.  New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2004. ISBN # 1592212581
  3. Twine, France Winddance.  Racism in a Racial Democracy.  New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1997. ISBN # 0813523656.
  4. Couto, Mia.  Sleepwalking Land.  London: Serpent’s Tail, 2006.  ISBN 185242897x. 

XEROX/EXCERPTS

  • Freyre, Gilberto.  New World in the Tropics.  (Out of Print)
  • Dickinson, Margaret.  When Bullets Begin to Flower (Out of Print)

 

GRADING                                                      

  • 5 Response Papers                           = 25%           
  • Midterm Exam                                  = 25%           
  • Participation & Attendance              = 15%
  • Research Proposal & Bibliography  = 10%           
  • Final Research Paper                        = 25%            

LAS 392P • Carnival In Brazilian Lit/Cul

40510 • Fall 2016
Meets TH 500pm-800pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as AFR 381, C L 386, ILA 388)

DESCRIPTION:

This course interrogates the relationship between the rituals of carnival, the interfacial myths of celebration and renewal, and the complex dynamics of inclusive exclusion that the event represents for marginalized populations, who, ironically, bear the burden of the actual bacchanal. The course focuses on the interrogation of how this singular event serves as a duality of “masking” and “negotiation of power” for both the oppressed and the oppressor in literature and culture.  Beyond this panoramic foreground regarding origins and transformations, the course will examine the representation(s) of carnival in literature and popular culture from the viewpoint of performance and cultural theory.  Case studies of Schools of Samba in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Blocos Afros as well as Afoxés in Salvador-Bahia will also be explored in order to have a balanced comparative perspective on the multiple dynamics of carnival as a political cultural space.

Some of the questions the course attempts to answer include: i. What are the paradigmatic discourses on carnival in Brazil and in the African diaspora? ii. To what extent is carnival an all-inclusive phenomenon where everyone participates without regard to social hierarchies and racial discrimination?  Is it really possible to “neutralize” social hierarchies in a patriarchal and marginalizing space in which blackness still represents the “marginal” other?  iii. What are the main pretexts and realities of performing and engaging carnival in a space that is economically and structurally controlled by hegemonic forces? iv. In contrasting and comparing the main arguments (for or against), what are the popular and epistemological orientations that shape carnival as a “collective” performance in which participants can propagate their own individuality through political masking? v. Is there an absolute conviction on the possibility of an alternative or paradigmatic shift that evokes both relative nostalgia of Africa and the disillusionment of Afro-descendants in the enigmatic Brazilian mosaic? vi. How is this space redefined shortly after the ephemeral cultural performance?

REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:

Course will be taught in Portuguese but students will be able to write their final papers in Portuguese, Spanish, or English. The final grade will be based on 5 short papers (30%), active class participation (15%), a midterm presentation (15%), a research proposal (10%) and a final research paper (30%).

TEXTBOOKS AND/OR CLASS MATERIALS:

Texts for critical analysis will include Mikhail Bakhtin’s A cultura popular na idade média, Mircea Eliade’s O sagrado e o profano, Anatol Rosenfeld’s O mito e o herói no moderno teatro brasileiro, Zeca Ligeiro’s Malandro divino, Jorge Amado’s O país do carnaval, Roberto da Matta’s Carnavais, malandros e heróis, Ruy Castro’s Carnaval no fogo, Vinicius de Moraes’ Invenção do Orfeu, Moacyr Scliar’s O carnaval dos animais, and Wilson Louzada’s Contos de carnaval

LAS 370P • Afro-Luso-Brazilian Worlds

40440 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm BEN 1.126
(also listed as AFR 372E, PRC 320E)

The notion of a “Portuguese commonwealth” has always been an imperial desire of Portugal to the extent of justifying conquest and subjugation in the so-called “colonies” through varying tropical mythologies. Even after independence, Portugal continued to exercise tremendous cultural and political influences on its former colonies, including Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. This course engages some of the myths and realities in the Afro-Luso-Brazilian worlds while at the same time drawing connections and contrasts between them. In addition to a contextual survey of the “triangle”, we will examine some of the strategies adopted by the colonized to decolonize their minds through interdisciplinary case studies. Drawing upon a mix of theoretical, cultural, historical, sociological, and literary readings, we will tease out the vibrant affinities and/or tensions between Africa and Brazil, Africa and Portugal, Brazil and Portugal, Portugal and Asia, etc. We will foreground our discussions with the concepts of Luso-Tropicalism and Postcolonialism while reflecting on the myth of racial harmony in the Lusophone Atlantic world.

LAS 370P • Lusophone African Lits & Culs

40275 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 303
(also listed as AFR 374E, POR 329)

This is a survey course on Lusophone African literatures with particular emphasis on Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde Islands. The course focuses on combative struggle that led to the independence of the five nations as well as the new postcolonial tendencies such as ideological subversion, mythification, demythification, remythification, globalization, and resistance in the face of modernity and “post-colonial” disillusion. The course seeks to provide a panoramic view highlighting the common and divergent characteristics between the five.  Beyond the analysis of poems in A Horse of White Clouds: Poems from Lusophone Africa, we will focus on a few select authors such as Mia Couto, Luandino Vieira, Luís Bernardo Honwana, Lina Magaia, Paulina Chiziane, Germano Almeida, etc.

Objectives:

  1. Introduce students to the decisive moments of the literary history of Lusophone Africa.
  2. Analyze representative texts and highlight the thematic, contextual, and ideological issues.
  3. Question the current critical models and propose other more inclusive possibilities. 

Basic Themes:

  • Brief historical contextualization of Portuguese colonialism in Africa.
  • Exotic / colonial / national literatures.
  • Negritude movement, Pan Africanism, and African Personality.
  • Colonial wars; armed struggle; Affirmation of African identity.
  • Insularity, evasion, and anti-evasion.
  • Miscegenation, Lusotropicalism, mulatitude.
  • Colonial indictment and quest for freedom.
  • Slavery; Diaspora, “Contract” work.
  • Critique of the colonial society.
  • Rural vs. urban space.
  • Hope and Anticipation of new order.
  • Counterpoint of independence waves (Civil War—Angola & Mozambique)
  • Comparative perspectives: Africa, Afro-Brazil, Portugal? 

Texts:

  1. Don Burness (ed.): A Horse of White Clouds: Poems from Lusophone Africa.
  2. José Luandino Vieira: The Real Life of Domingos Xavier.
  3. Luís Bernardo Honwana: We Killed Mangy-Dog.
  4. Lina Magaia: Dumba Nengue: Run for Your Life.
  5. Mia Couto: Voices Made Night.
  6. Germano Almeida: The Last Will of Senhor da Silva Araújo.

Films:

  • “Udju Azul de Yonta” (Blue Eyes of Yonta)
  • “Mortu Mega” (Those Whom Death Refused)
  • “O Herói” (The Hero)
  • “Terra Sonâmbula” (Sleepwalking Land)
  • “O Testamento do Sr. Napumoceno” (Napumoceno’s Will)

Publications


Afolabi, O. (2009) Afro-Brazilians: Cultural Production in a Racial Democracy. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

Afolabi, O. (2008) Cadernos Negros/ Black Notebooks: Afro-Brazilian Literary Movement. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
Afolabi, O. (2008) Trans-Atlantic Migration: The Paradoxes of Exile. New York/London: Routledge.
Afolabi, O. (2007) Afro-Brazilian Mind/ A Mente Afro-Brasileira: Contemporary Cultural and Critical Criticism. New Jersey: Africa World Press.

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages



  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

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