top left: Ditaola VI, Mohau Modisakeng (2014) | bottom left: People Circling the Ka'ba, Ahmed Mater (2012) | title art: Ladies Working with Joy, Rejeena Niaz (2012)
The selections in this unit offer students the potential to consider the beauty and craftsmanship of the works, as well as the effects of the African and Middle Eastern colonial experience -- and the subsequent challenges of the post-colonial era. They consider religious, generational, and cultural conflicts; effects of modernization; political struggle; and other themes common to many literary works. At the same time, students should recognize that not all literary works make explicit political or cultural statements and that all works must be approached on their own terms. In order to enrich their understanding, students investigate the historical background of selected works, as well as author biographies.
Reflections of Inner Truth, Loyiso Mkize (2011)
- RL.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- RL.9-10.6: Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.
- RI.9-10.5: Analyze in detail how an author's ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter.)
- RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
- W.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- W.9-10.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
- Read a variety of literary works from Africa and the Middle East, particularly from the postcolonial period.
- Consider the challenges of translation, including the different connotations that various cultures attach to given words.
- Through analysis of literary works, explore the changing social structures of Middle Eastern and African societies.
- Explore the various literary devices in plot development, such as suspense, foreshadowing, symbolism, and extended metaphor.
- Trace the development of an idea or argument in a work of literary nonfiction.
- Offer insightful inferences regarding the themes of the text.
- Create a clear, original, specific thesis statement.
- Organize concrete evidence and supporting textual details to support a thesis statement.
- Use precise language, avoiding casual language and clichés.
- Write appropriate transitions to organize paragraphs.
- Understand how literary devices convey theme.
Divine Exodus, Khaled Hafez (2009)
- Ethics of the Aristicrats and Other Satirical Works by Nezam al-Din Obeyd-e Zakani
- Living in Hope and History: Notes from Our Century by Nadine Gordimer
IMAGE GALLERY 1: Africa
IMAGE GALLERY 2: Middle East
YINKA SHONIBARE, MBE (Nigeria)
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, is a contemporary British-Nigerian artist living in London. His work explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His trademark material is the brightly colored "African" batik fabric he buys in London. This type of fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch, and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a new sign of African identity and independence. Because he suffers from a physical disability (tranverse myelitis) that paralyzes one side of his body, Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction.
SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran)
Shirin Neshat is a contemporary Iranian visual artist who lives in New York City, known primarily for her work in film, video, and photography. Her artwork centers on the contrasts between Islam and the West, feminity and masculinity, public life and private life, antiquity and modernity, and bridging the spaces between these subjects. Her work, which has never been shown in Iran, essentially declares the female presence in a male-dominated culture. In her films and photographs, the female gaze becomes a powerful and dangerous instrument for communication.