The course: INDS 174 | Global Senegal: Alternative Modernities
The experience: Led by Wendy Wilson-Fall, professor and program chair of Africana studies, and Rachel Goshgarian, associate professor and assistant head of history, 23 students engaged in an intensive learning experience that included in-country travel, language lessons, one-on-one discussion opportunities with Senegalese university students and professors, and visits to the National Museum of Black Civilizations.
Through lectures and assigned readings, students were introduced to the history of French colonialism in West Africa, the power dynamics that existed between Africa and Europe during the colonial period, and the cosmopolitan effects of this history today in this coastal country, known for its cosmopolitan urban culture. In addition, the course examined Senegambian pre-colonial life, looking at various centralized states that existed before colonialism, and long-distance trade, which then was toward northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Students also attended lectures given by Senegalese scholars from the local university.
“The most impactful moment for me is observing the learning of the students,” shares Wilson-Fall. “The course is full of such impactful moments as I watch students become familiar with the reality of life in Senegal, and the bustling modernity of a West African city.”