AFRO 1023W: Introduction to African World Literature

3 CreditsGlobal PerspectivesLiteratureWriting Intensive

Childhood is a time of intense growth and dramatic change; of rapid physical, mental and emotional development. It is a time of discovering, experiencing, exploring; of exuberant curiosity and creativity. It is a state characterized by play and activity, innocence and wonder, surprise and delight. But childhood can also be a time of great confusion and uncertainty; of doubt, turmoil and anxiety. Through select pieces of short fiction, prose, essays and cinematic works, we will analyze the popularity of the coming–of–age genre (or bildungsroman) as a primary mode of formative response within the African world literary tradition. We will consider how the autobiographical or semi-autobiographical story, told by a narrator who is growing up and becoming conscious of their body, their familial and wider social surroundings, their emotions, their very identity, dramatizes the cultural, political, and historical contexts in which it is set. Through our exploration of socialization as a thematic component of the bildungsroman, we will examine how “coming-of-age” comes to represent something very different for boys and for girls.

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