Issues of Cultural Identity First Year Seminar (WLAN 2325)

“Writing ‘Home’: Issues of Cultural Identity in the Francophone World” (Spring 2015, Fall 2013).

A First-Year Seminar delivered in English for students of all majors that investigates notions of cultural identity through literature, music, and film centered around Francophone immigrants–those who straddle multiple worlds. Each semester concludes with a course colloquium open to all UCA faculty and students during which students give conference-style presentations of their final research project. In addition to placing students in the role of content experts (in a highly structured context) for their peers not taking the course, this assignment challenges students to see college-level assignments differently: not just a closed dialog with the course instructor, but rather as one point of entry into much larger conversations that transcend the classroom walls.

Highlights from the Course’s Syllabus Include

  • Novels and printed texts including Belly of the Altantic by Fatou Diome, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire, I Was an Elephant Salesman: Adventures between Dakar, Paris, and Milan by Pap Khouma, and Black Bazar by Alain Mabanckou.
  • Excerpts from theoretical and literary textsBlack Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon, Maryse Condé’s Tales from the Heart, Abdourahman Waberi’s In the United States of Africa, Azouz Begag’s Shantytown Kid, and Calixthe Beyala’s Loukoum: The Little Prince of Belleville.
  • Films including Laurent Cantet’s The Class and Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl.


  • Music, fashion, and dance associated with the Congolese Sape movement.


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