Intro to African Cultural Studies

Nov 2004

Easily one of the most engaging and brilliant professors I've been lucky enough to have. She really challenges everyone, and will embarass you if you haven't done the reading. She's very kind and approachable, though intimidating at first. She will eventually get even the most boring and mute seeming kids in your class to contribute daily. A really inspiring teacher, I learned a lot.

Jan 2004

Holy mackerol. It looks as though I am seriously outnumbered here, but I actually really liked Intro to African Cultural Studies. I would have perhaps used the word loved had the other reviews not been so harshly critical. Let first say a few things -- yes, there is quite a bit of reading, and yes, the reading is hard. But, Andrade is a very thoughtful woman who knows an incredible amount of information in her field. She's a typical college professor in that you can tell her focus is more on research taking place outside the classroom, but she is also enormously kind and genuine. She is writing a book about a film and several books we handled in lecture, is fluent in french, and is able to answer almost any obscure question you could have regarding African civilization. This class requires dedication, but I believe that you will get exactly the amount you put into it. I say at least give it a shot.

Jan 2004

Unfortunately I have to agree with the reviewers who gave poor reviews to this class. Our class was the guinea pig class as this is the first time it's ever been taught. As a result she assembled an overly ambitous syllabus which meant that not only did we have to cut out several readings and assignments, but that we had to purchase $20 books in order to only read an introduction that could have been photocopied and paying way too much for course packs that had a number of untouched articles. In addition there she considerably increased the number of written assignments without really giving us any feedback or constructive criticism in order to improve on our next papers (that is if we got them back before we had to write the next paper). The first test in the class was the final which she did little to no work helping us to prepare for. When asked questions about what would be expected of us all she could say was that she hadn't really decided what the test would be like and that we should therefore just "know everything." The main text, Africa since 1940, is bearable until the fifth chapter at which point it becomes a mind-numbing list of facts. To make it worse, the professor acknowledged that the last half of the book was indeed terrible before revealing to us that she had not in fact read the whole book before assigning it to us. I also have to agree with the fact that she wasn't an engaging professor. While I was under the impression that it would be a lecture class it turned into a seminar discussion period which primarily consisted of Professor Andrade asking us what we didn't understand about the reading and proceeding to stare at us for the remainder of the class until someone came up with a question, which would then take her at least 10 minutes to respond to. There was no stimulation in this class. I felt as if she didn't come to class with a lesson plan or agenda and therefore the conversation often became stale and sometimes non-existant. Like a previous reveiwer mentioned, whenever someone would try to bring up a controversial point, the professor would cut that person off claiming that we could not discuss the issue until everyone's questions had been answered and we fully understood the text, which, judging by the lack of questions, we already did. The readings are difficult but interesting. However I do not feel that the professor chose the best manner in which to discuss the points and arguments presented in the readings, and therefore many people got little more out of them than they had by simply reading them on their own time. Overall I would say that the material is interesting but the class's lack of stimulation makes it a waste of time.

Jan 2004

I pretty much agree with the other reviewers in that it's a pretty bad idea to take this class. It *could* have been a cool course (most of the readings were really interesting), but for Professor Andrade, who killed everything potentally worthwhile about the material. She would come to class with no particular agenda for the discussion and instead simply ask what we didn't understand about the reading. Then she would individually answer expository questions about the readings for two hours. Class discussions were really inane and *really* boring-- anyone who tried to bring some form of critical/analytical thought to the discussion would usually be shut down (I was once informed that my reaction to a text was "inappropriately strong" when I tried to boost the discussion a bit). I didn't find her particularly intimidating, but I think she terrified a lot of the freshmen. She does put you on the spot-- so beware if you haven't done the reading. The paper topics spell out exactly what she wants you to do in your essay so there's zero room for creativity. There's too much reading, and too many pointless summaries. Also, the class is totally disjointed-- I don't think Andrade tried to establish any kind of conceptual coherence to the course, so it's a little tricky to figure out what you're supposed to know and how it relates to everything else. All in all, I didn't think this class was particularly difficult; however, the effort required is certainly not worth what you get out of it. If you care at all about what you're learning in your major culture classes, skip African cultural studies and take something that lets you use your brain a bit.

Dec 2003

Prof. Andrade is obviously not teaching because she wants to. Her discussions force students to spit out stupid answers no one learns from. She never taught but expected students to just absorb. She is condescending and grades harshly. Half the reading is interesting, half of it is dry. Overall the experience was terrifying and I learned little I didn't read on my own.

Nov 2003

Professor Andrade is kind, thoughtful and challenging. She does call on people at times, but the usually lively discussions help keep this to a minimum. There is a hefty amount of reading, but it's all very interesting. The class covers a wide range of topics, literary, historical, political and social. If you can do the work, it's worth it. The class is set up as a discussion, which Andrade manages quite well, stepping in whenever necessary. She is clearly interested both in the material of the course and in what the students have to say.