Learning Community -- Summer Benin 2013

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May 13: Benin Learning Community Common Packet

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. Login and click on "ereserves."


  • Reader, John. 1997. Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York: Vintage. (excerpted in pdf)
  • Timothy Ford, "Water and Health," Chapter 18, Environmental Health.
  • Finkel, "Bedlam in the Blood," National Geographic, July 2007.
  • 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.
  • Decalo, Samuel. 1997. "Benin: First of the New Democracies." In Political Reform in Francophone Africa, edited by John F. Clark and David E. Gardinier, 43-62. Westview Press.
  • Bierschenk, Thomas. 2009. "Democratization without Development: Benin 1989-2009." International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society no. 22 (3):337-357.
  • 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.
  • Millenium Development Goals for Benin
  • Easterly, William. 2006. The White Man's Burden. New York: Penguin.
  • Songhai Case Study

May 1: Benin Program Learning Community Page

I'll use this to post resources relevant to interests that cut across courses. Also, maybe, some program information.

Browse the selected "bookshelf." [1]. There are other books in the bibliography not pictured in this selection, but these seem current and relevant to a cross section of disciplinary interests. I might have added, for instance, E. O. Wilson's, The Social Conquest of Earth, but which I won't recommend as a required text for us.

There are about 75 document records in the Benin Program library. Here's a link to those.

Current Endnote Records on Benin.

Please browse them sometime. I hope we'll be adding to and updating this literature during our time in the learning community. Within a few days, I'll get you access to pdf versions of much of this. For now, though, he's my recommended Browse list:

  • Avorgbedor, Daniel K. 2005. "Musical Traditions of the Ewe and Related Peoples of Togo and Benin." In A Handbook of Eweland: The Ewe of Togo and Benin, edited by Benjamin Lawrance, 197-213. Accra: Woeli Publishing Services.
  • Bierschenk, Thomas. 2009. "Democratization without Development: Benin 1989-2009." International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society no. 22 (3):337-357.
  • Blier, Suzanne. 1995. "Vodun Art, Social History, and the Slave Trade." In African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power, edited by Suzanne Blier, 23-54. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • Coates, Tim. 2001. King Guezo of Dahomey 1850-52: The Abolition of the Slave Trade on the West Coast of Africa (Uncovered Editions). London: The Stationery Office.
  • Decalo, Samuel. 1997. "Benin: First of the New Democracies." In Political Reform in Francophone Africa, edited by John F. Clark and David E. Gardinier, 43-62. Westview Press.
  • Easterly, William. 2006. The White Man's Burden. New York: Penguin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nanda, Serena, and Richard Warms. 2007. "Chapter Three: Doing Cultural Anthropology." In Cultural Anthropology, edited by Serena Nanda and Richard Warms, 58-84. Thompson/Wadsworth.
  • Reader, John. 1997. Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York: Vintage. Excerpt available in esreserves!

For Ethics and Philosophy of Culture Students, please follow the wiki for particular courses. We will try to connect our courses with an online discussion exercise at some point in the summer.