Do you use feature films to teach undergraduate students about African cultures, histories, politics, environments, religions, arts, or other dimensions of African realities? I would like to organize a panel for the 58th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association focused on the pedagogy of teaching Africa through film. The focus of the panel will be practical advice for relating specific non-documentary films to topics of central importance to teaching African Studies. Each panelist will present their experiences using one or more film to illustrate cultural tensions, historical ambivalences, tenuous identities, or achieve other pedagogical goals. Audience members will walk away with information and ideas for using specific feature films and films more broadly to teach about Africa in their own classrooms.

Your paper should be specific to your own classroom experiences teaching African Studies using films such as: Black Girl (Ousmane 1966), Yeelen (Cissé 1987), Tsotsi (Hood 2005), Sometimes in April (Peck 2005), Moolaadé (Ousmane 2004), Life Above All (Schmitz 2010), Kwaku Ananse (Owusu 2013), or Mother of George (Dosunmu 2013). This listing is meant to be informational, not exhaustive. Film studies scholars are invited to present material from their research, where the focus for the paper is practical classroom applications for the promotion of critical thinking about African Studies.

A mini abstract for the session follows (to be modified based on the filmic and subject interests of panelists). If you are interested in participating as a panelist, please send a 200 word abstract making clear the topic you would like to present (film & relevance) along with your contact information (name, email address, phone number, institutional affiliation) to Arianna Huhn at [email protected] by MARCH 1st.

More information about the conference can be found here. Please note that all panelists must be current members of the ASA and must preregister for the conference by May 15th.

MINI ABSTRACT
Many undergraduate students walk into our classrooms with minimal prior exposure to Africa. Some may have seen movies like Blood Diamond, The Constant Gardener, The Gods Must be Crazy and other productions that tend to treat the continent’s peoples as doing little beyond celebrating colorful traditions, fearing silly superstitions, or engaging in warmongering (and, of course, the tribulations and interests of African peoples are also presented as secondary to American leads; click here for a compilation on stereotypes of African men in Hollywood cinema). This panel suggests that we can use feature films in our classrooms to expose students to images and stories that more accurately reflect African experiences and enhance other pedagogical aims. Panelists offer practical advice for utilizing specific non-documentary films for teaching about cultural tensions, historical ambivalences, and tenuous identities integral to African lifeways and experiences. Audience members will walk away with information and ideas for using feature films to teach about Africa in their own classrooms.

If you are interested in participating as a panelist, please send a 200 word abstract making clear the topic you would like to present (film & relevance) along with your contact information (name, email address, phone number, institutional affiliation) to Arianna Huhn at [email protected] by MARCH 1st.