Chalk Radio — Episode 2, “How Africa Has Been Made to Mean with Prof. Amah Edoh”
In this episode, we talk with Professor Amah Edoh about how Africa, as a concept, is produced through cultural practices and how she engages students in learning about this idea through teaching approaches that valorize students’ voices.
“How has Africa been made to mean?” For a long time, Africa has been depicted in the arts and media as a place of famine and dysfunction. More recently, the continent has been increasingly portrayed as the next frontier for business and artistic innovation. In this episode, we talk with MIT Professor of African Studies M. Amah Edoh about how Africa, as a concept, is produced through cultural practices — things like music, film, theatre, clothing, etc. She shares how she engages MIT students with this concept in 21G.026 Global Africa: Creative Cultures, a course she’s shared on MIT OpenCourseWare. Topics include how her own experiences with formal education shape how and why she tries to value students’ voices in the classroom, redefining students’ relationships to scholarly texts to make academia feel less alienating, giving students language to articulate relationships of power, encouraging students to experiment with creative cultural production, getting off campus to experience cultural performance in a social context, and living the life of a new faculty member (spoiler alert: it’s a lot like engaging in marathon improvisational theatre, and it’s exhausting!).
This episode was originally released on March 4, 2020.