Nigerian literary giant Chinua Achebe is celebrated as the father of modern African literature. In this seminar, fellows will read two novels from his famed “African Trilogy” – his groundbreaking first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), about the tragic downfall of the Ibo warrior Okonkwo, and its sequel, No Longer at Ease (1960), about Okonkwo’s Western-educated grandson who returns to Nigeria for a job in the colonial civil service.

In following the lives of the Okonkwo family – from the first contact of European colonists to the waning days of the British Empire – fellows will reflect on the complicated relationship between African tradition and Western influence, the ravages of corrupt governance, and the challenge of moral agency when different belief systems overlap and compete.

Image Credit: Door; Lintel, Olowe of Ise, The British Museum

Martha Bayles on American soft power

Faculty

Martha Bayles

Martha Bayles is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and since 2003 she has taught humanities at Boston College. She is currently at work on a monograph on the threats to independent journalism around the world; and a book about the importance of “voluntary restraint” in the American tradition of free speech.

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