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2020-2021 FLDH Webinar Series: Documenting Africa: Digitally Storytelling African Cultures Through Space and Time.
During the fall of 2018, Drs. Mary Anne Lewis Cusato and Demerdash-Fatemi received funding from the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) to begin a project called “Documenting Africa.” Through two courses—Dr. Cusato’s “Fourteen Kilometers: Mediterranean (Im)Migrations in Contemporary Francophone Literature and Film” course at Ohio Wesleyan University and Dr. Demerdash-Fatemi’s “Introduction to African Arts” course at Albion College—the instructors endeavored to challenge students to reconsider the stakes of representing African peoples, literary traditions and visual cultures via digitally curated, interactive maps. The conceptual and theoretical overlap across these courses was rooted in some key learning outcomes: firstly, we expected our students to have more nuanced notions of how African peoples’ worldviews and self-understandings are shaped by their oral histories, literary traditions and cultural practices, cross-cultural encounters and exchanges, and visual/material cultural patrimonies; secondly, in encouraging our students to confront and ask difficult questions about the biases and mythologies that permeate our popular culture about Africa, African peoples and cultures, our students became more attentive to the problems of history, and that for alternative future histories to emerge, we underscored the need for historiographic revisions; and thirdly, these questions of the historiographies of African arts and cultures, in the end, pointed our students to the high stakes and direct impact posed in how these diverse peoples are not only represented, but remembered. Student groups within both Dr. Cusato and Dr. Demerdash-Fatemi’s classes created their own StorymapJS maps along differing thematic lines. In their own curation of these digitally interactive maps, students were asked to draw out their own questions and re-situate African oral traditions, literary works, and art objects of visual culture within a virtual gallery that was georeferenced on a map.

Nov 6, 2020 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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