Understanding African History

One of the first big issues that we always have to tackle when we study Africa in the
classroom is the prevalence of inaccurate western associations with the continent. This assignment throws you
into the tasks of (1) articulating western stereotypes about Africa, and (2) considering how these stereotypes
have limited us and what we might do to better understand Africa’s rich, diverse history.
Step 1: What are the stereotypes? Work through two or more of the linked sources below. Jot down ideas as
you read and watch the video if you have ever encountered any of the mentioned images of Africa. Write up a
paragraph (100+ words) with internal citations referencing the sources below and potentially your textbook to
explain several main misconceptions that most Americans have about Africa.
Step 2: What are the solutions? Then in about 100 words, address what challenges these stereotypes pose for
scholars of African History and the general public. Assess one or more solution(s) offered in the linked
readings. Do you think that the solution would help an American public better understand African History? Why
or why not? Again, use internal citations and refer to authors by last name as you consider potential solutions.
2) https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/fall-2008/i-didnt-know-there-were-cities-in-africa
3) https://newrepublic.com/article/118600/america-must-stop-stereotyping-africa-continent-animals
4) https://www.aljazeera.com/program/upfront
5) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40420910
6) https://trafo.hypotheses.org/11518
7) https://www.africa.upenn.edu/K-12/African_Curriculum_16166.html
8) https://journals.openedition.org/rccsar/174

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