New AFST course being offered in Fall 2016


Dr. Case Watkins in ISAT is offering a course that may be of interest to you for Fall 2016. AFST 400/ISAT 480: Africa and Science will be offered on Tuesday evenings form 6:00-8:30pm in ISAT 337. This team-taught seminar analyzes historical and contemporary relationships linking science with Africa, Africans, and Afro-descendants in diaspora.

What images does the word, “Africa” bring to mind? What about “Science?” Each of these terms are contested social constructions that both derive from and help (re)shape the way we perceive the world and the diverse peoples whom inhabit it. The first half of the course uncovers “hidden histories” of Africa and the African Diaspora with a critical focus on the development and distinction of “scientific” and “traditional” knowledges. The second half surveys many contemporary scientific innovations conceived by Africans and Afro-descendants and discusses Africa’s place in the future of Science. Together we will observe, analyze, and rediscover Africa from an extraordinarily wide range of intellectual perspectives. We will uncover many important contributions to scientific knowledge advanced by Africans and their descendants in diaspora. We will find that Science and scientific knowledges are never flawless truths, but rather contested social constructs shaped by place, time, and power and modulated through race and gender. We will come to view Africa and Afro-descendent peoples as crucial generators of scientific knowledges. Finally we will look to Africa and Afro-descendants to help understand and address the planet’s greatest challenges, such as human and economic development and global climate change, finding many exciting ideas and even cause for optimism.

This is a team-taught course that draws on many diverse people, perspectives, fields, and disciplines to recognize and analyze Africa, Science, and their many interconnections. Dr. Case Watkins, instructor in Geographic Sciences and Africana Studies, will facilitate the team. He will be present at each class meeting, deliver lectures, hold regular office hours, and grade writing assignments. Other professors will assign readings and deliver lectures related to their fields of expertise, as well as serve as advisors for individual research projects when appropriate. Members of the teaching team include: 

  • Dr. Aderonke Adesanya
  • Dr. Jennifer Coffman
  • Dr. Yvonne Harris
  • Dr. Lamont King
  • Dr. Joshua Linder
  • Dr. Besi Muhonja
  • Dr. Adebayo Ogundipe
  • Dr. David Owusu-Ansah
  • Dr. Johnathan Walker 

If interested please sign up in My Madison using course number 76147.

Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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