Postcolonial African Literature

Jan 2002

This class was definitely a challenging experience; I really had to earn my A-, a rarity in a department where an A- seems to be the consolation prize. I went into the class knowing very little about postcolonial theory and even less about African literature, so jumping into a class where grad students casually threw out the names of theorists I had never heard of like they were close personal friends was pretty terrifying. Prof. Slaughter is extremely accessible in office hours, however, and when I went to see him about feeling that I was in over my head, he seemed legitimately interested in hearing my suggestions for improving the class dynamic for the frightened undergrads. Prof. Slaughter did try to give historical background for each work we read (and to curb the in-class enthusiasm of the grad students), but it was still a hard row to hoe if you didn't already have a good handle on the subject. Overall, I would say that the fit between postcolonial theory and African literature was an awkward one; two such huge and daunting subjects really each deserve their own class. I did learn some stuff, but I was left feeling like we had only just scratched the surface. I did like that Prof. Slaughter made use of the multi-media technology in the classroom!