Students in African Cultures with Dr Karen Haire, at Principia College, Elsah, Illinois, have just completed an engaging 2-month long pilot project with South African History On-line. This pilot was inspired by SAHO’s longer established collaborations with McGill and Southern Methodist Universities.
The project involved students undertaking individual research, developing writing and analytical skills and, excitingly, meeting virtually with SAHO researchers who supported this project. For the fall 2017 pilot, students produced biographical essays on African women writers and resistance. The majority of these writers belong to the canon, to the first generation of African writers post-independence, in their respective countries.
Introducing students to SAHO highlighted the significance of writing African cultures and cultural history, and of promoting histories and life-stories that deserve greater appreciation. The pilot also highlighted (and as a note of caution, student papers reflect) some of the challenges of finding non-partisan and critical sources as background to individual countries. As another note, students were not tasked with engaging feminist theory for this essay. The reader is invited to enjoy the freshness of a novice’s view on a particular African woman writer.