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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 357 • CANCELLED - African Literatures, Visual Images & Music: Intertwinements of Art Forms - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42790 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
MAI 220B

Course Description

This course will examine translated literary texts originally written in French from North and Sub-Saharan Africa and investigate how the arts are closely intertwined throughout the continent. We will see why they move from one form to another and how a novel or film turns to other art forms, blurring delimitations.

A wide variety of integrated art forms are used or argued for by the creators in this course. Frances Bebey (music) and Ousmane Sembene (film) are writers renowned in multiple creative genres. Djibril Diop Mambety, however, incorporates theatrical and photographical devices in Hyenas. Werewere Liking argues for the importance of linking forms in It Shall Be of Jasper and Coral. Assia Djebar in Fantasia: an Algerian Cavalcade integrates painting into the narrative in order to go beyond language and better represent history that has too often been silenced by colonization. Over the course of the term, we will be studying important literary works, acquiring the necessary tools to ground our analyses through key theoretical approaches and we will view films to expand our discussions.

Grading Policy

Two short essays (3-5 pages on assigned topics + rewrite) 100 pts
Midterm exam 50 pts
Presentation (on material read for class) 50 pts
One final paper (~7 pages) 100 pts
Homework, participation, attendance, and improvement 100 pts


Tamsir Niane, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
Ousmane Sembene, God's Bits of Wood
V.Y. Mudimbe, Before the Birth of the Moon
Werewere Liking, It Shall Be of Jasper and Coral
Assia Djebar, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade

Dani Kouyaté, Keita
Sembene Ousmane, Guelwaar
Ngangura Mweze & Lamy, La vie est belle
Djibril Diop Mambety, Hyenas

Secondary Readings:
Frances Bebey, African Music: A Peoples Art (Extract)
Manthia Diawara, African Cinema: Politic & Culture (Extract)
V.Y. Mudimbe, The Idea of Africa (Extract)
Abdelkébir Khatibi, The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy (Extract)

About the Professor
Assistant Professor Hélène Tissières teaches African literatures in the Department of French & Italian. In fall 2003 she obtained a Fulbright and spent a year and a half in Dakar, Senegal, teaching at Cheick Anta Diop University. Presently she is studying the links between writing and painting in Africa and has been closely following the Dakar art biennale. She has also just finished a book entitled Ecritures en transhumance (Maghreb - Afrique subsaharienne) which will appear this fall. The course taught here is representative of the links between arts she has been interested in pursuing and will encourage students to travel between different forms, obtaining a clearer picture of the complexities the continent has to offer, which so often remain unknown.


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