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The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery. … This continued until the Africans themselves, in the middle of the twentieth century, took into their own hands the telling of their story."

-- (Chinua Achebe, "An African Voice")


Guiding Question: Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery. … This continued until the Africans themselves, in the middle of the twentieth century, took into their own hands the telling of their story."

How does Achebe see the role of the writer/storyteller? In what ways does he use fiction as a means of expressing and commenting on history?


Guiding Question: Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery. … This continued until the Africans themselves, in the middle of the twentieth century, took into their own hands the telling of their story."

To what extent is Things Fall Apart successful in communicating an alternative narrative to the dominant Western history of missionaries in Africa and other colonized societies?


  • Learning Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery. … This continued until the Africans themselves, in the middle of the twentieth century, took into their own hands the telling of their story."Objectives:

  • Become familiar with some African literature and literary traditions

  • Become familiar with elements of African and Nigerian culture

  • See how historical events are represented in fiction Be able to differentiate between historical accounts and fictionalized accounts of history

  • Understand narrative perspective as culturally-positioned (Afrocentric versus Eurocentric perspectives)


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