Short Essay #2 (10%)
The second short essay assignment is a reaction paper requiring viewing of and reflection on the film Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako (2006) or the two TED talks by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Helping Africa and Aid versus trade with Africa.
Eight weeks into the course, we have explored the meaning of development and a number issues pertaining to Africa’s development and/or underdevelopment. This assignment requires you to view and reflect on Bamako or, view and reflect on Okonjo-Iweala’s TED talks and, to write a 650-word (about three pages) reaction paper based on your selection.
Bamako is available on Reserve at PSU library and probably on Netflix. Bamako has been called a political drama that allocates blame for Africa’s impoverishment to world financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. Okonjo-Iweala’s TED talks are available online at TED.com or at CultureUnplugged.com. They focus on helping Africa by doing business with Africa and on aid versus trade with Africa.
Select one of the questions below and write a 650-word (about three pages) reaction paper that answers the question and addresses the issues therein. See the “Handy-Dandy Guide to Writing a Reaction Paper”, if necessary. In your reaction paper, be sure to address essay options #1 or #2, thus answering the particular questions asked.
1. Sissako’s “Bamako” is “overtly political”, according to one reviewer, Dennis Lim. Lim, however, suggests that “Bamako” is a dramatic “act of symbolic justice”. That should make one wonder, what is the point of the film. What do you think? Why should anyone interested in Africa’s development or underdevelopment want to see/watch Bamako? Please explain.
2. Nigerian economist Okonjo-Iweala’s TED talks are based on her experience working at the World Bank and as minister of finance for the Nigerian government. Here are the two YouTube videos “Want to help Africa? Do business here” and “ Aid versus Trade ”. What do you think? Why should anyone interested in Africa’s development or underdevelopment want to see/watch these videos?
In your reaction paper, be sure to summarize the presentation/film (key points), to analyze or evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the presentations, and to reveal your reactions to the presentation and key points.