Course Descriptions

01:013:314 Islam and African Literature (3) (spring) AHo or AHp

For over a millennium, Islam has been an integral part of the life of large sections of African peoples, especially in North, East and West Africa. During the Middle Ages in Africa the religion served to expand the network of relations with the outside world, especially with the Middle East and Asia. In time, Islam came to play an important role in African literature, oral and written, both as a subject and in shaping the course of its development. Yet despite the common understanding of the term, Islam varies considerably from place to place, from one temporal setting to another, reflecting all the diversities of African culture. This course is intended to explore the varied expressions of Islam in literary texts from different parts of Africa, paying particular attention on how the conjuncture of culture and history has diversified the experience of Islam and its literary expression in Africa. In addition, the writers examined in the course differ considerably in their interpretations of Islam, from those espousing particular orthodoxies, to reformers of one shade or another, to critics who sometimes border on cultural apostasy.