Using African Film and Video to Teach about the Environment Workshop

Michigan State University, February 4 to 6, 1999


Many undergraduate courses use films and videos to teach about the African environment. However, often they are outdated and promote stereotypic images of Africa.  Furthermore, the concept of the African environment for many American students is limited to African wildlife devoid of humans.


This workshop aims to enhance social science, natural science, and humanities undergraduate courses that teach about the African environment, by encouraging the use of film and video images that are accurate representations of Africans and Africa and that challenge the conventional concept of the African environment. 


Hence, this workshop will provide college faculty with methods and strategies for incorporating high quality film and video on Africa into undergraduate general education courses and introductory-level courses that concern the African environment in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.


Thursday, February 4, 1999                                                               

Location: Michigan State University (MSU)

4:00            Registration


5:30             Welcome Reception


6:00            Welcome Remarks and Introductions

Tama Hamilton-Wray, Coordinator, African Media Program (AMP), MSU

John Metzler, Co-Director, AMP, MSU


6:30            Opening Address: ARepresenting the African Environment

in the Media: Historical & Contemporary Images@

David Wiley, Director, African Studies Center & Co-Director, AMP, MSU


7:30     Film (Humanities-Related) Screening & Discussion

Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer (When the Stars Meet the Sea)

by Raymond Rajaonarivelo (Madagascar, 1996, 85 min)


Friday, February 5, 1999

8:00a            Plenary Address: APresenting the African Environments@

David Campbell, Assoc. Chair, Geography, MSU


9:30             Session 1: Defining Nature & the Environment:

Global & Local Articulations

Panel Discussion

Humanities: Albert Mosley, Philosophy, Ohio University

Natural Sciences: Peter Murphy, Ecology, Mich. State Univ.

Social Sciences: Bill Derman, Anthropology, Mich. State Univ.


Film Clips: Sex, Lemurs and Holes in the Sky; Yaaba Soore;

Roots of Hunger, Roots of  Change


11:15   Break Out Groups

Humanities, Dr. Al Mosley

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences, Dr. Bill Derman


2:00            Session 2: Managing Africa=s Natural Resources

(use of resources for livestock, agriculture, wildlife, & tourism)

Panel Discussion

Humanities: Maureen Eke, English, Central Michigan University

Natural Sciences: Dave Evans, Environmental Biology, Kalamazoo College

Social Sciences: Julie Fischer, Geography, Western Michigan University

            Yacob Fisseha, Agricultural Economics, MSU


Film Clips: Can the Elephant Be Saved?; Under the Baobab Tree


3:45     Break Out Groups

Humanities, Dr. Maureen Eke

Natural Sciences, Dr. Dave Evans

Social Sciences, Dr. Julie Fischer and Dr. Yacob Fisseha


7:00     Film (Social Science-Oriented) Screening & Discussion

Sidet (Forced Exile) by Salem Mekuria (Ethiopia/Sudan, 1991, 60 min.)

            These Hands by Flora M'Bugu‑Schelling (Tanzania, 1992, 45 min.)


Saturday, February 6, 1999

8:30             Session 3: Societal Pressures:  Human Environment Issues

                     (population, health, urban growth, & migration)

Panel Discussion

Humanities: Mauwena Logan, Literature, Ohio University

Natural Sciences: Charles MacKenzie, Pathology, Mich. State Univ.

Social Sciences: >Dimeji Togunde, Sociology, Albion College


Film Clips: Zan Boko; Guardians of Africa: the Tsetse Fly


10:15   Break Out Groups

Humanities, Dr. Mauwena Logan

Natural Sciences, Dr. Charles MacKenzie

Social Sciences, Dr. >Dimeji Togunde


1:00            Session 4: African States, Gov=t, Social Participation, & the West

(popular movements, war, refugees, & conflict over environmental issues)

Panel Discussion

Humanities: Soraya Mekerta, Francophone Lang.& Lit., Spelman College

Natural Sciences: Tracy Dobson, Fisheries & Wildlife, Mich. State Univ.

Social Sciences: Okey Iheduru, Political Science, James Madison College


Film Clips: Sango Malo; Nigeria, Squandering of Riches;

Malawi: Land of the Lake (from Africa Features/Tanzania Features)


2:45     Break Out Groups

Humanities, Dr. Soraya Mekerta

Natural Sciences, Prof. Tracy Dobson

Social Sciences, Dr. Okey Iheduru


4:30             Closing Session & Evaluation


5:00     Film (Natural Sciences-Oriented) Screening & Discussion

Everyone=s Child by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe, 1996, 96 min.)




9:00a            Crossroads  (55 min) H,N,S

10:00   An African Recovery (29 min) N,S

10:30    The Bamako Initiative in Action (35 min) S

11:10            Angano ... Angano (Tales from Madagascar) (64 min) H,S

12:20pBaabu Banza (Nothing Goes to Waste, 16 min) S 

12:40   The Earth that Feeds Us (15 min) N,S

2:00     Guerra Da Agua (A Water War, 70 min) H,N,S

3:10     Living with Drought (49 min) N,S

4:00     AIDS in Africa (52 min) N,S

4:55            Waiting (33 min) S


9:00a    Ta Dona (100 min) H,S

10:40            Botswana -- Planning their Future (20 min) N,S

11:00   Fragile Riches (34 min) N,S

11:35   Hands Up for the Environment (21 min) H,S

1:00p   Man-Made Famine (57 min) S

2:00            Praying for Rain (39 min) N,S

3:00     Rivers of Sand (53 min) N,S

4:00     Parks or People (39 min) N,S

4:40            Zimbabwe: Tourism along the Zambezi River (20 min) N,S

Note:  H- Humanities    N - Natural Science   S - Social Science