Study Africa, ‘the blooming continent’


image1 (1).png Augustana is offering its very first African Studies course (GEN 397) over the coming interim and you should take the opportunity to learn about the continent that is blooming.

Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, a continent with thousands of languages and cultures, unparalleled eco-diversity and over a billion vibrant and innovative Africans. 

The relevance of African issues is apparent in our everyday lives; we use African products, exports and mineral resources—sometimes unknowingly. The coltan in our cell phones is only one example. 

Studying African history and current events gives us a deeper understanding of world history and modern American history too. For instance, the relationship between the U.S. and Africa predates American Independence. 

The profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade helped jump-start the industrial revolution, while the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants laid the economic foundations of this nation. 

The earliest Africans in the U.S. also shaped the cultural, religious and social landscape of the nation’s cities and rural areas and the foundations of the culture we term “American culture.” 

America’s relationship with Africa did not end with the slave trade. Diplomatic relations with Liberia and the former Belgian Congo and trade with southern and eastern Africa kept Africa on the nation’s political and economic radar, while pan-Africanism and religious evangelism took black and white Americans to many parts of Africa. 

The 20th century brought more multi-dimensional and sustained connections that were shaped by the Cold War as much as by the social movements that redefined American society. 

In the 21st century, the relationships between Africa and the U.S. remain multidimensional and dynamic. The reach of satellites, cable, and the Internet puts America into millions of homes on the African continent. 

Right now, African immigrants are establishing more and more communities in America, putting the study of African issues and cultures at our front doorstep.  

The study of Africa is not important only to today’s student who cares about Africa in world culture and international relations or the urgent issues such as HIV/AIDS that recognize no borders, it is important equally to students who want to understand their neighbors and themselves. 

You become a better-informed global citizen when you study Africa.

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