STUDYING AFRICA IN OUR CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCE….
The COVID-19 lockdown has radically altered research, teaching, and learning in African studies at all levels — from K-12 classrooms through advanced post-doctoral archival research.
For the foreseeable future it will no longer be possible to watch a movie together in classroom, nor can groups take field-trips to museums to view important Africa collections, nor will it be possible to assemble in auditoriums to hear from a visiting guest speaker from Africa — or anywhere else — reporting on current circumstances in Africa.
Further, while African studies has had to go “virtual” almost overnight, there are, so far, very few online “textbooks” that are accessible to assist teachers to design “virtual” classroom materials and teach under COVID-19 circumstances.
To compound these problems, it would seem that for the foreseeable future the prospect of initiating long-distance travel to Africa for research, educational exchange programs or even for tourism will remain unrealistic for some time to come.
All of these features of our current circumstance combine to mean that studying about Africa from the Americas or Europe is now quite difficult.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of online “assets” that can help in this circumstance….. Both faculty AND students – at all levels — can begin now to use these online resources to build new online curricula for learning & teaching about Africa.
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- Some immediate graphic sources on Africa & the World:
- Africa is NOT a country…. How Big is Africa?
- Using Google search engine to find Africa maps:
- Some Selected Resources on African History:
- The Africans: A Triple Heritage, Ali Mazrui (1983)
- Africa – Basil Davidson (1984)
- “Africa’s Great Civilizations,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2017)
- “The Gold Road” – Map & Historical Discussion of Medieval West African history – (2018) — [See related art exhibition as well:
- Smithsonian National Museum of African Art – “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa” – and in particular: “Palma” with information about the famous Medieval map depicting the realm of the Mali king, Mansa Musa.]
- The “History of Africa” with Zeinab Badawi – (BBC, 2020).
- Selected Online African Historical Map collections – with some guides to accessing them – “The Africa Map Circle”