Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I have two more days in America, then I am off to Africa...FINALLY! I feel like I have been here for too long waiting for this to happen. It sucked a lot of the excitement out of me. I am just ready to be there and in a new routine. I am going to Senegal for the SIT: Arts and Culture program. I think that this program was made just for me, because it is perfect. Intensive Language Study: French FREN 2000-3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours Intensive Language Study: Wolof WOLO 1000 / 2 credits / 30 class hours Arts and Culture Seminar AFRS 3000 / 6 credits / 90 class hours An interdisciplinary course conducted primarily in French with required readings. Lectures and discussions generally include: Senegalese Culture and Society: Role of Islam in Senegalese life; poverty and development; general history of Senegal from the slave trade to the present; gender, law, and civil society in Senegal; history and heritage of Saint-Louis; the place of Saint-Louis in Senegalese literature; health and development; political economy of Senegal; Senegalese cinema and theater. Arts and Culture: Workshops in traditional and modern Senegalese dance and djembe. Choice of additional workshops in batik, ceramics, bronze sculpture, sand painting, or glass painting. Musical training in traditional Senegalese instruments such as the kora, tama, and djembe. Educational Excursions: The program includes field visits to Gorée Island, Saint-Louis, eastern Senegal, and the Petite Côte. Rural Visit: To afford direct knowledge of rural life, participants live for five days in two different rural settings. Village conditions are basic, frequently with no electricity or running water, and provide an invaluable opportunity to learn from rural Senegalese. Field Study Seminar ANTH 3500 / 2 credits / 30 class hours Independent Study Project ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours Conducted in Dakar or, with program approval, in another location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: ethnomusicology and study of traditional instruments; role of dance in the ceremonies of the Sereer; social meaning of traditional dress in modern Senegal; industrial and traditional fabric dying and design; griots (musicians, historians, royal advisors); Senegalese film as a cultural statement; the work of the Sorano National Theater; the artists of Gorée Island; cultural identity and religion; the talking drum; women and craft production; contemporary Senegalese music. Homestay: Six weeks in Dakar and two five-day rural homestays. Other accommodations during the program include guest houses, educational institutions, or small hotels. This will be the experience of a lifetime. I am excited and open to learning everything I can. This is just what I need to finish out my last year at Guilford when I return, with a more relaxed, refreshed, and good attitude. I am going to be a different person when I get back; the person I want to be and was meant to be. I will miss some of my closest friends...and maybe my family...but this is what I was meant to do and this is what I need to do. I will try to keep in touch and keep posting on this thing when I can, so all of you can be jealous of the fun I am having. In the meantime, I have final preparations to do, and my last contra dance to go to. See you all in May!