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Spring 2022 Advanced Programs - Advanced Programs Face to Face or Virtual - International and Area Studies

[IAS 5940] Topics - International Studies - 110

Rita Keresztesi

Course Description

 Special Topics: African Post-Colonial Cinema

This class offers a unique perspective on postcolonial Sub-Saharan African culture through the history of filmmaking on the continent. The beginning of African cinema production coincided with and chronicled the political, economic, social, cultural and psychological aspects of decolonization. African filmmakers made the medium their platform to publicly debate the tasks and challenges for newly independent nations. The career of Ousmane Sembene (Senegal), often called the “Father of African Cinema”, spanned forty-some years from the early 1960s till his death in 2007. We will view and discuss several of his and his contemporaries’ films, as well as recent movies from both West and East Africa. African cinema follows in the tradition of “orature,” and filmmakers are the modern descendants of traditional storytellers or “griots.” We will sample some of the canonical and recent films from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Kenya. We conclude the course with the study of Nollywood cinema (Nigeria) that inspired filmmaking in Ghana, Tanzania and elsewhere. We will focus on both the form and the content of the films by examining the ways that African filmmakers project local, national, and regional issues onto global screens. We discuss the different aesthetic forms and genres chosen by the filmmakers and look at the types of social critiques the films engage in as they tackle topics such as tradition, gender, migration, corruption, Westernization and others. Students will have access to the films through online streaming services and we will also read critical texts on how to “watch” films from Africa.

Class Dates, Format, Location and Hours

DatesApril 1-3 and April 8-10, 2022
FormatFace to Face
Location for on-site courses3281 Sheridan, Rd., Fort Sill, Oklahoma
HoursFriday 5:30-9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyMarch 3, 2022

Site Director

NameMs. Anita Bailey, Ms. Kayla Damon
DSN and CIV phone(580) 355-1974

Professor Contact Information

Course Professor: Dr. Rita Keresztesi
Mailing Address: Department of English, University of Oklahoma, Norman OK 73019
Telephone Number: 405/388-7604
Email Address:
Professor availability:The professor will be available via email to students before and after the class sessions. Face-to-face office hours: half an hour before and after each class session, by appointment.

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online.

I will be placing additional materials on Canvas:

Mbembe, Achille. “Nicolas Sarkozy’s Africa”

Haynes, Jonathan. “Political Critique in Nigerian Video Films.” African Affairs, 105/421, 511–533.

Barlet, Olivier. “50 Years of African Film” (63-102) 50 Years of African Film.pdf

African Cinema Politics & Culture
African Cinema Politics & Culture
by Manthia Diawara
Published by Indiana Univ Pr
ISBN: 9780253207074
Africa Shoots Back Alternative Perspectives in Sub-Saharan Francophone African Film
Africa Shoots Back Alternative Perspectives in Sub-Saharan Francophone African Film
by Melissa Thackway
Published by Indiana Univ Pr
ISBN: 9780253216427
African Film Re-Imagining a Continent
African Film Re-Imagining a Continent
by Josef Gugler
Published by Indiana Univ Pr
ISBN: 9780253216434
Nine Hills to Nambonkaha Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
Nine Hills to Nambonkaha Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
by Sarah Erdman
Published by St Martins Pr Special
ISBN: 9780312423124
We Won't Budge An African Exile in the World
We Won't Budge An African Exile in the World
by Manthia Diawara
Published by Perseus Books Group
ISBN: 9780465017102

Course Objectives

Students will learn about the history of African filmmaking. Through watching films and reading autobiographical and critical texts about Sub-Saharan Africa and its cinema, students will gain invaluable insights about the still lingering impacts of European colonization and the complicated processes of decolonization in culture and society. Films are powerful tools to insight, empathy and understanding across cultures, histories and geographies. Students will study the key concepts of African cinema, its periods, genres and of important filmmakers. All films are available: through Kanopy Streaming (OU Library), YouTube, or in class.

Course Outline

4/1 Friday 5:30-9:00 p.m.


Sarkozy, Nicolas. “Speech in Dakar, Senegal 2007” (transcript)

Mbembe, Achille. “Nicolas Sarkozy’s Africa”

Films:  Nicolas Sarkozy “African Man Speech in Dakar 2007” (2m)


Thomas Sankara, “Imperialism” speech (2m)


Diawara, Mnathia. African Cinema: Politics and Culture

Film:   Sembène: The Making of African Cinema (Manthia Diawara, Ngūgī wa Thiong'o,

Senegal 1994, 60m)

4/2 Saturday 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.

Gugler, Josef. African Film: Re-Imagining a Continent

Films:  Borom Sarret [Cart Driver] (Ousmane Sembene, Senegal 1962, 20m)


           La Noire de… [Black Girl] (Ousmane Sembene, Senegal 1966, 60m)


           Xala [Curse of Temporary Impotence] (Ousmane Sembene, Senegal 1974, 123m)

Thackway, Melissa. Africa Shoots Back

Films:  Rear Window: Djibril Mambéty (Silvia Voser, US 2016, 14m)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Touki Bouki [The Journey of the Hyena] (Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal 1973, 95m)

Tales of Ordinary People: La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil [The Little Girl Who Sold the

Sun] (Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal/Switzerland 1999, 43m)

4/3 Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Erdman, Sarah. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha

Sarah Erdman on C-Span:

Film:   Yaaba [Grandmother] (Idrissa Ouédraogo, Burkina Faso 1989, 90m)

4/8 Friday 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Diawara, Manthia. We Won’t Budge: An African in Exile in the World

Music: Salif Keita, “Nous pas bouger” [We Won’t Budge], Ko-Yan, Mali (1989)


Films:  Madame Brouette [Wheelbarrow Lady] (Moussa Sene Absa, Senegal 2002, 104m)

Moi et mon blanc [Me and My White Guy] (S. Pierre Yaméogo, Burkina Faso 1998,



4/9 Saturday 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.

Haynes, Jonathan. “Political Critique in Nigerian Video Films.” African Affairs, 105/421, 511–533

Films:  Nollywood Babylon (Ben AddelmanSamir Mallal, Nigeria 2008, 75m)

           Confusion Na Wa [That is Ridiculous] (Kenneth Gyang, Nigeria 2013, 105m)


Barlet, Olivier. “50 Years of African Film” (63-102) 50 Years of African Film.pdf

Film:   Aristotle’s Plot (Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Cameroon 1996, 70m)

4/10 Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.


Films:  Pumzi [Breath] (Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya 2009, 23m)


           Africa & Science Fiction: Wanuri Kahiu's "Pumzi" (Interview 2009, 10m)


           Les Etats-Unis d’Afrique: Au-delà de Hip Hop [United States of Africa: Beyond Hip

Hop] (Yanick Létourneau, Canada 2011, 75m) 

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

Reading Responses (7)                                     700 points

(All Reading Responses are due by 3/30, 11:59 p.m. in Canvas; two peers reviews per Reading Response to be completed by 4/10, 11:59 p.m. in Canvas; students will present on the readings in class.)

Final Paper                                                      300 points

(It is due by 4/23, 11:59 p.m. in Canvas.)


                                                                 Total: 1000 points        

Reading Responses (7x100 points each):

Your reading response should give a critically engaged overview of the key points of the text organized by a theme or topic of your choice but connected to the course. Each Reading Response should be about 1,250 words in length. All reading responses are due before the course starts: by March 30th 11:59 p.m. to be uploaded on Canvas. You will be assigned two peer reviews per assignment on 4/1st, all peer reviews should be concluded by April 10th 11:59 p.m. in Canvas.

Final Paper (300 points):

Your final paper should focus on a theme you have culled from the readings and films of this course. Your topic should reflect your interest and what you have learned and found useful in learning about African culture, history and politics through film. Your paper should be about 3,750 words in length. The goal of this assignment is to incorporate your skills learned in this class to “read” and analyze African film and culture. Develop your argument centered around a topic, give it a good title, and support your thesis with textual evidence and researched informed. It is due by April 23rd, 11.59 p.m. in Canvas.

Resources on Academic Writing:


This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F.

Grading Scale:

A  900-1000

B   800-899

C   700-799

D  600-699

F   599 and below

Notice: Failure to meet assignment due dates could result in a grade of I (Incomplete) and may adversely impact Tuition Assistance and/or Financial Aid.


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.



Education: Ph.D. Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz


Current Positions: Associate Professor of English, University of Oklahoma


Frequently Taught Extended Campus (Advanced Programs) Courses: Sub-Saharan African Cinema


Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest: African American and Afro-Caribbean literature and culture, African cinema, critical theory, film studies.


Representative Publications and Presentations:

Literary Black Power in the Caribbean: Fiction, Music and Film (Routledge, Nov. 12, 2020)


Strangers at Home: American Ethnic Modernism between the World Wars. Lincoln,

NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2005 (hardback) and 2009 (paperback).

The Western in the Global South. MaryEllen Higgins, Rita Keresztesi, and Dayna Oscherwitz, Editors. New York, NY: Routledge Publishers, 2015.

Representative Honors and Awards Received:

Fulbright U.S. Scholar, Burkina Faso 2010-11

Fulbright Alumni Ambassador Scholar

Major Professional Affiliations:

Caribbean Studies Association

African Studies Association

Modern Languages Association