AAAS 337: Hollywood and Africa


Reader requirements: An interest in Africa and/or movies and film-making.


  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Stephen Smith

This course on Hollywood films about Africa—from classics such as “African Queen” (East Africa), “Tarzan” (Equatorial Africa) and “Out of Africa” (Kenya) to recent productions such as “Blood Diamond” (Sierra Leone), “The Last King of Scotland” (Uganda), “Lord of War” (arms trade), “The Constant Gardner” (Kenya) and “Black Hawk Down” (Somalia)—will tack back and forth between filmic representation and case study, using the latter to critique the former. As contrastive material, the class will also draw on non-Hollywood films about Africa, for example “Hotel Rwanda” (Rwanda) or “Lumumba” (DRC).

Student Writing:

What are students writing? Four blog entries. Two of these entries will be film reviews and two will be columns where a student is responding to a specific question regarding things like camera angle, soundtrack, lighting, etc.

For whom? Cinephiles and Africanists (anyone interested in movies and filmmaking and/or African culture).

Where would such writing typically be found? Culture Blogs

Why would someone usually read it? For entertainment or for a more scholarly approach to the topics at hand, depending on the direction the student decides to take the piece.


Schedule (Student – Reader Interactions):

These are the deadlines for this course as they relate to the Duke Reader Project:

Students and their Readers should schedule a time to have an introductory meeting to get to know one another no later than Sept 15.

Students will write 4 blog entries between Oct 2 and Nov 30. Depending on which films you decide to write about, these four blog entries will be due on one of the following nine dates (all Mondays): Oct 2, Oct 9, Oct 16, Oct 23, Oct 30, Nov 13, Nov 20 and Nov 27). 

By Oct 1, students should have discussed these nine possible due dates with their readers to determine which four of the nine dates the students will be submitting their blog entry drafts to their readers for feedback. The drafts should go to readers at least a week and a half in advance of due date so that readers will have a week to read the entry and get feedback to the student a few days before the entry is due in class:

Depending on the 4 films you chose to write about, these are the deadlines:

Oct 2 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Sept 20; Reader gets feedback to Student by Sept 27.

Oct 16 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Oct 4; Reader gets feedback to Student by Oct 11.

Oct 23 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Oct 11; Reader gets feedback to Student by Oct. 18

Oct 30 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Oct 18; Reader gets feedback to Student by Oct. 25.

Nov 13 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Oct. 1; Reader gets feedback to Student by Nov 8.

Nov 20 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Nov 8; Reader gets feedback to Student by Nov 15.

Nov 27 class due date; Student sends draft to Reader by Nov 15; Reader gets feedback to Student by Nov 22.

 

Link to full Syllabus:

SYLLABUS – Hollywood & Africa


Giving Feedback as a Reader

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More