Memoirs of Life in South Africa

English 162: Literature and Place (A Queens College Study Abroad Course)

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Monday, January 2  Arrive, get settled Tuesday, January 3 Morning: Orientation Afternoon: First class with Nick Shepherd, Making Sense of South Africa: Histories, Contexts, Debates Read for Today: Shepherd & Robins, New South African Keywords; afternoon screening of the film Mapantsula (1988) Blog 1: Reflect on your experience in Cape Town so far and make a connection to something you learned in class today. Mellon students: Write about something interesting you've learned in your program. Wednesday, January 4  Morning: class with Nick Shepherd Read: Rasool, "Memory and the Politics of History in the District 6 Museum" + Bickford-Smith, "Mapping Cape Town: From Slavery to Apartheid" Afternoon: Excursion to the District 6 and Iziko museums Thursday, January 5  Morning: Class with Nick Shepherd Read: Shepherd, "Archaeology Dreaming: Post-Apartheid Urban Imaginaries and the Prestwich Street Dead" + Field and Swanson, "Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town" Afternoon: screening of the film  District 9 (2009) Blog 2: Share and reflect on a moment in Mandela's book that documents a moment that changed him or a moment of cross-cultural mixing or conflict. Mellon students: You can do this same first assignment. Friday, January 6  Morning: First Regular Class Read: Mandela, Long Walk to FreedomArora, “Decolonizing the Mind” (from the blog Shunya:; Bahri, “Introduction to Postcolonial Studies” Afternoon: Tour of Cape Town Sunday, January 8 Robben Island Blog 3: What is postcolonial identity? Are you postcolonial? In what ways is Cape Town postcolonial? Suggestion: Include images or video. Mellon students: Please read the two short pieces by Arora and Bahri and do this same first assignment. Monday, January 9  Morning: Class Read: Coetzee, Boyhood; Eakin, "What Are We Reading when We Read Autobiography?" Afternoon: Free Tuesday, January 10  Morning: Class Read: Gordimer, selected essays from Writing & Living; Biko, selected essays from I Write What I Like;  Afternoon: Free Blog 4: What's tricky about autobiography? (Be sure to offer concrete examples.)   Wednesday, January 11 Morning: Class Read: Otter, Khayelitsha; Appiah, “The Case for Contamination”Writing Africa: Tinyiko Sam Maluleke's Blog Afternoon: Free Blog 5: Choose a post from "Writing Africa" and use it to teach the rest of us something new about South Africa. Be sure to include a link to the post and a couple of quotations from it.   Thursday, January 12  All Day: Excursion to The Lwandle Museum, Somerset West, and Monkey Town Friday, January 13 Morning: Class Film: Law & Freedom (Dir. Achmat) Afternoon: Free Blog 6: Choose one writer we've read and write an account of yesterday's excursion from the point of view of that writer. Suggestion: Include images or video. Saturday, January 14  Excursion to Porter Estate Market Blog 7: Tell a story about a Cape Town experience (keeping Eakin's ideas about autobiography in mind). Monday, January 16  Morning: Class Read: Mathabane, Kaffir Boy Afternoon: Free Tuesday, January 17  Morning: Class Film: A Country for My Daughter (Dir. Blankenberg); Eakin, "Talking about Ourselves: The Rules of the Game" Afternoon: Free Blog 8: Choose a life story you've encountered during your time in Cape Town and reflect on it through the lens of Eakin's essay "Rules of the Game." Wednesday, January 18  Morning: Class Film: Black People Don't Swim (Dir. Blankenberg) Reading: Appiah, "The Case for Contamination" Afternoon: Free Blog 9: Reflect on some ideas for your research project. Thursday, January 19  Morning: Class Read: Selections from Ncgobo, Some of My Best Friends Are White; selections from Ndumiso Ngcobo's Blog Afternoon: informal discussion at a local café Blog 10: Option 1: Write a satirical account of a Cape Town expeirence or Option 2: Write about how humor may be used to counter injustice or respond to suffering. Friday, January 20  Morning: Class Read: Selections from Krog, et al, Then There Was This Goat; The Truth and Reconciliation Commission website Afternoon: Informal discussion at a local café. Blog 11: Choose a piece of testimony in the "Special Hearings" section of the TRC web site and present it for the rest of us. Be sure to use quotations from the piece you choose. Make a connection to an idea Krog writes about in her book. Afternoon: Free   Monday, January 23  All Day: Excursion to Boulders, Cape Point, and the Cape of Good Hope Tuesday, January 24  Morning: Class (Presentations) Afternoon: Braai Blog 12: Write about something you learned in Cape Town. Suggestion: Use images or video.    

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