Living/Learning Center Programs

The University of Vermont


Visions of Africa


(Note: This is a residential TAP program and is open only to incoming students in the College of Arts and Sciences.)



Anthropology 095C                 Visions of Africa

Computer Number 90129                               


The recent photographs of prison abuse in Iraq have once again shown the importance of the visual. Why do so many see Africa as the Dark Continent? This course examines how popular myths and stereotypes about Africa are constructed by examining how images and visions of Africa are created and sustained on a number of fronts. In short, this course tries to clarify how we imagine Africa and why we imagine it in the way we do.

During the Fall Semester, several distinguished people will visit and give lectures, including the Zambian Ambassador to the United Nations and a documentary filmmaker who was nominated for an Academy Award. In addition to course work that features prescribed readings and the keeping of a Quote Book and a Journal, each week will feature a film or video clip or a guest speaker, typically a journalist or person with extensive African experience. Students will attend relevant screenings at the Burlington International Film Festival in October. Students will monitor a specific issue like AIDS, female genital mutilation, child soldiers or famine, and examine how that issue is covered in the media. Syndicates will research and write an article of publishable quality for the local media.

During the Spring Semester, student syndicates will jointly work on either a video production featuring some aspect of life in Africa (which should be of a quality suitable for screening on Public Access Television) OR will attend the Montreal International Film Festival in April. (Spring semester activities will be worth one academic credit.)

Through participation in this year-long program, students will develop “media literacy,” critical thinking, dialogue and written and visual presentation skills. Note: This is a residential course.

Requirements satisfied:  Non-European Cultures and one Social Sciences course

Meets:  Monday and Wednesday 5.45-7.15


Professor Rob Gordon            

Contact: 802-656-2107





Robert Gordon, Professor of Anthropology and African Studies, has worked extensively with the Bushmen of the Kalahari (featured in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy) and was chief historical advisor to John Marshall’s recent prize-winning documentary series, A Kalahari Family. He has taken students to Africa in the past and is currently trying to arrange internships for UVM students in southern Africa.


Teaching Assistant:


Myles Jewell ( is a double-major in English and Anthropology. Myles has a particular interest in video production, and is also captain of the UVM lacrosse team.



How to Apply:


Representatives of the Living/Learning Center will be present during Admitted Student Visit Days in April and during New Student Orientation in June. However, if you know that you are interested in living in the Living/Learning Center and wish to enroll in this class, we encourage you to apply now.


            Apply on-line: