"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

1.21.2010

safe for civilization

Yesterday I taught African politics for the first time. Ever. I'll be honest; it scared me a little. After all that time in graduate school and dissertation writing and TA-ing for African politics classes and thinking about African politics, the thought of actually importing knowledge on the subject? It was exhilarating and frightening all at once.

I've been debating back and forth for oh, six years or so, as to whether I'd have the nerve to begin my class the way the legendary Bill Foltz began his: with a postcolonial reading of Babar's adventures in becoming civilized by the Old Lady (aka, France). Today we ran out of time, but come colonialism week, I'm absolutely going to do it. Kate was thoughtful enough to remind me of the above picture, and, really, what kind of educator would I be if I didn't include this in their introduction to the study of the continent's politics?

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9 Comments:

Blogger Rachel said...

Oh. I loved Babar as a child. I never realized.

Looking back, it's so obvious! I guess I was a rather dense kid.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 8:28:00 AM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Nobody realized it as a child! That's why it's so insane. Have you seen Tintin au Congo yet? That takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:20:00 AM

 
Blogger Rachel said...

Tintin au Congo. No. Really?!

Oh my god, for the second time in as many days I'm searching for the word between utter horror and hysterical laughter... and obviously, I'm going to search out a copy right away!

Friday, January 22, 2010 2:07:00 AM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Oh, yes. I'm going to do a post on this soon. It's one of the most offensive things you'll ever see - and there's a guy either in Bukavu or Bunia who'll make you your very own "Rachel au Congo" painting.

Friday, January 22, 2010 11:57:00 AM

 
Anonymous Swahili Street said...

My last manager, in the HQ of an INGO that doesn't lack name recognition, had a Tintin in the Congo poster ON HER OFFICE WALL. I found it hard to take my eyes off it whenever I visited.

And don't talk to me about Richard Scarry....

Saturday, January 23, 2010 12:51:00 AM

 
Blogger Rachel said...

What?!?! Richard Scarry? No. Oh, I LOVED him.

Maybe my new life goal will be to become a children's book author. I'll write lovable, engaging books that teach children about the stark bloody horrors of colonialism.

Monday, January 25, 2010 6:52:00 AM

 
Blogger Tony said...

Rachel,

I'm sorry for you. You are sick. Worse still you are extremely stupid. But I guess that's not your fault.

Call me when you get maimed and beaten by your friends but don't expect any sympathy.

Tony in Cambodia.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 7:21:00 PM

 
Anonymous Madaoua said...

Youthful ignorance was great...I loved those books as a kid.

Friday, January 29, 2010 10:50:00 AM

 
Blogger Tony said...

Dear Texas in Africa,

The comments on your blog are so utterly absurd, obviously all posted by the usual feminist,homosexual,socialist,moronic
black, frustrated over weight and ugly do-gooders. I just can't stand your crap any more so please never contact me again. I suggest you change "texasinafrica" to "crapintoilet" the latter is a perfect description of both.
tonyincambodia.

Friday, January 29, 2010 7:39:00 PM

 

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