Benin Learning Community 2014

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This page contains the reading list for the "common packet" of the Benin 2014 Learning Community. Individual students are enrolled in Philosophy 301: Introductory Ethics, Philosophy 495: Philosophy of Culture: Benin, or Broadcast 380: Special Topics.

Here's the reading list for the common packet. We did wind up with a fair amount of reading, but we also want to encourage you to pursue other reading from the program library and investigate new topics of your own.

Benin Learning Community Common Packet

All readings are available as pdfs from your course website. Follow and read documents linked below. Login and click on "ereserves". Take some notes that you can return to.

History and Politics

  • Reader, John. 1997. "The Atlantic Slave Trade," Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York: Vintage. (excerpted in pdf, pp. 377-403) (26) (June 5)
  • What are some of the key facts about the size of the slave trade, who was involved, and when it occurred?
  • Who was John Newton and what does his life and career tell us about the slave trade?
  • Gardinier, David E. 1997. "The Historical Origins of Francophone Africa." In Political Reform in Francophone Africa, edited by John F. Clark and David E. Gardinier, 9-23. Westview Press. (June 10)
  • In what ways (political, cultural or economic) did France relate to its African territories until and after 1960?
  • What seem to have been some advantages and difficulties involved in the bilateral relation?
  • What political and socio-economic changes took place in the early 1960s?
  • Bierschenk, Thomas. 2009. "Democratization without Development: Benin 1989-2009." International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society no. 22 (3):337-357. (June 10)
  • In what ways are the 1989 mobilizations and successive political transformations explained in this article and how does this interpretation differ from previously dominant views?
  • Comment on some economic aspects of Benin that you find particularly striking.
  • What is the situation of political culture, civil society and the media in today's Benin?

Culture and Everyday Life

  • Mama, Rauf. 1998. "The Dance of Poverty." In Why Goats Smell Bad and other Stories from Benin, edited by Rauf Mama, 45-50. North Haven, Connecticut: The Shoe String Press. (June 16)
  • Kpai, Idrissou Mora, Si Gueriki The Queen Mother. (Video) (week of June 16)
  • Hass, Philip, Kings of the Water (Video) (week of June 16)

Development July Reading Period

  • Millenium Development Goals for Benin: (July 7)
  • Guardian, 2013 Millenium Dev. Goal Progress Index [1]
  • Beninese minister reports progress in achieving MDGs," [2]
  • IndexMundi, "Benin MDGs" [3]

  • Easterly, William. 2006. excerpt from The White Man's Burden. Chapter 1, "Planners vs. Seekers," (July 17)
  • Nzamujo, Fr. Godfrey. "Using agriculture to challenge Africa's triple threat." Fr. Godfrey Nzamujo, founder of The Songhai Center. [4] or, Father Godfrey - How the South Can Feed the North [5]

Other Resources

Here is an accessible blog presentation of the Songhai concept. [6]