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George Clement Bond Center for African Education

Teachers College, Columbia University

Teaching Resources

The following list highlights some great resources to help teachers teach their students about Africa and the diaspora:

Museum for African Art www.africanart.org
The Museum for African Art, located in Long Island, New York, offers an variety of art collections to New York residents and and out-of-state visitors. It also offers hands-on workshops, lectures, and other activities at the museum for students and through their outreach program which goes out to teach directly at schools. They also have available from their website, Teacher's Guides, which help teachers incorporate African art into their daily lesson plans.

More Museums that feature African art:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art www.metmuseum.org, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
The Brooklyn Museum: www.brooklynmuseum.org, The Arts of AfricaEducation: Programs and Resources for Educators

Facing History and Ourselves www.facinghistory.org
Africa [1950 - present]
Teaching Strategies
Facing History and Ourselves offers hundreds of curriculum ideas, texts, videos, and online programs for teaching about issues such as social justice, racism, war, and has an entire section devoted to teaching about Africa in particular. It also offers teaching strategies on how to teach about sensitive and controversial topics.

Films and Literature by Sembene Ousmane
Senegalese born, Sembene Ousmane, was a pioneer of African cinema and one of the foremost filmmakers in world cinema. He was also a prominent African novelist.
Ousmane's books and films discuss and critique culturally significant and controversial issues of relavance to West Africa, including female circumcision, marriage and women's roles, religion, colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as many others. His films are written in French or local West African languages but English subtitles are available for most of his films. Because of the honest and critical nature of Ousmane's work, some films may not be appropriate for audiences younger than the secondary level. 

Gods Bits of Wood

List of Films:
Cinema16: World Short Films (2008), Moolaadé (2004), Faat Kiné (2000), Guelwaar (1992), Camp de Thiaroye (1987) ... aka The Camp at Thiaroye, Ceddo (1977) ... aka Outsiders (literal English title), Xala (1975) ... aka Impotence ... aka The Curse, Emitai (1971) ... aka Dieu du tonnerre (Senegal: French title) ... aka God of Thunder (literal English title) ... aka Hementhal (International: English title: informal title), Tauw (1970), Mandabi (1968) ... aka Le mandat (Senegal: French title) ... aka The Money Order, Borom sarret (1966), La noire de... (1966) ... aka Black Girl (Canada: English title) (USA), Niaye (1964), L'empire sonhrai (1963) ... aka The Sonhrai Empire (USA) 

Biography (print):
1985: "The Cinema of Ousmane Sembene, A Pioneer of African FIlm," by Francoise Pfaff. Greenwood Press.
Pfaff, Françoise. The Cinema of Ousmane Sembène, A Pioneer of African Film. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1984
Ousmane Sembè: Dialogues with Critics and Writers, ' edited by Samba Gadjigo, Ralph H. Faulkingham, Thomas Cassirer, and Reinhard Sander. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993) ISBN 0870238892
'Ousmane Sembène: Dialogues with Critics and Writers, ' edited by Samba Gadjigo, Ralph H. Faulkingham, Thomas Cassirer, and 

Cineaste (USA)
2004, Vol. XXX, Iss. 1, pg. 20-25, by: Jared Rapfogel and Richard Porton, "Power of Female Solidarity: An Interview with Ousmane Sembene."

International Herald Tribune (USA)
14 October 2004, pg. 10, by : joan Dupont, "An African director takes up his banner"
Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue canadiene des etudes africaines (Canada)
1981, Vol. 15, Iss. 2, pg. 277-292, by: F. Case, "Workers' Movements: Revolution and Women's Consciousness in God's Bits of Wood"
Presence africaine (France)
1980, Iss. 116, pg. 202-214, by: Teshone H. Gabriel, "Xala: A Cinema of Wax and Gold"

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
The autobiography of a boy soldier caught in the middle of the Sierra Leone civil war. This book is well written, easy to read, and very interesting for secondary level students.

West African Novels: Lesson Plan for Grades 10-12 
World Literature or Social Studies
Enrichment Lesson for Grades 10,11,12
University of Wisconsin-Madison African Studies ProgramOutreach Services
Georgia Cook, Spring, 1991, West African Literature 
So Long a Letter 
by Mariama Ba, published by Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801, USA.
The purpose of this lesson is to apply the guidelines for a Western world novel to this book which is written by a West African author. The reason for doing this is to discover what can be learned about the people and the culture and the country of West Africa using tools familiar to western readers. So Long a Letter fits the definition of a mainstream novel. It deals with the subjects of marriage, children, polygamy, divorce, and death. It is of interest to men, women, and young adults.

Wole Soyinka's "Lion and the Jewel"

Sample Study Guide
Notes by Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman 

Cyprian Ekwensi's "People of the City"

Despite the added reputation, Ekwensi achieved with his later novels, People of the City, remains a work of great significance in the development of contemporary African writing. It tells the story of a young crime reporter who doubles as a dance bandleader in a large West African city—and eventually realizes that what he can do for the developing country he lives in is more important than the varied personal pleasures he can find in the hectic city life.

Columbia University Libraries, African Studies
African Literature on the Internet