Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free African History Courses

Several universities are putting complete courses online for free now. Visitors can peruse course materials and watch lectures even if they do not get any academic credit for it. MIT is probably the best known for this but some other schools are as well including Notre Dame and the University of Washington.

Here are three example courses dealing with African history:

AIDS and Poverty in Africa - This MIT course was loaded in the Spring of 2005. The course description reads, "This is a discussion-based interactive seminar on the two major issues that affect Sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDS and Poverty. AIDS and Poverty, seemingly different concepts, are more inter-related to each other in Africa than in any other continent. As MIT students, we feel it is important to engage ourselves in a dynamic discussion on the relation between the two - how to fight one and how to solve the other."

Exploring a Romano-African City: Thugga - This is a course from the Open University in the UK. The course introduction notes, "This unit focuses on a detailed investigation into the archaelogy and history of a Roman North African city. You will watch the video sequence ‘Exploring Thugga’ and undertake activities identifying Roman and indigenous elements in the city. You then investigate Roman and indigenous cultural elements in the archaeology of Africa; here you will watch two brief video sequences on mosaics, continue your study of the ‘Exploring Thugga’ video, and view ‘Culture and identity in the houses of the Roman élite’."

Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora - This course is also from MIT and is from 1995. The course description reads, "This course provides an exploration of colonial and postcolonial clashes between theories of healing and embodiment in the African world and those of western bio-medicine. It examines how Afro-Atlantic religious traditions have challenged western conceptions of illness, healing, and the body and have also offered alternative notions of morality, rationality, kinship, gender, and sexuality. It also analyzes whether contemporary western bio-medical interventions reinforce colonial or imperial power in the effort to promote global health in Africa and the African diaspora."

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