Students spending winter quarter studying West African literature and culture in Senegal

Fifteen Western students just completed three weeks in Senegal, where they were immersed in the study of West African literature and culture.

The Faculty-led Global Learning Program was led by WWU English Professor Christopher Wise and Program Coordinator Ablaye Diakite, who works with the Endangered Archive Project to digitalize West African Ajami manuscripts, affiliated with Boston University.

The group visited the capital city of Dakar, the Atlantic slave trade hub of Goree Island, the holy city of Touba, and the culturally significant cities of Saint-Louis and Alwaar, and the coastal resort cities of Saly and Mbour.

“Students study West African Sufism, griot epics, Medieval Songhay manuscripts from Timbuktu, modern West African novels, short stories, poems, and film,” Wise said. “We also tour different Senegalese universities, hear lectures from Senegalese professors, surf, swim in the ocean (it's ‘winter’ here, which means temperate, Maui-like weather), and visit animal reserves. We also heard African musical performances, eat Senegalese cuisine, etc.”

Click here to learn more about Western’s Faculty-Led Global Learning Programs.

Friday, February 24, 2023
Students and faculty stand on a beach in Senegal, with a man wearing dozens of plastic bags attached to his clothing and a sign saying 'No Plastic Bags," in French.

Students met L’Homme Plastique, who’s working to eliminate plastic sack trash pollution in Senegal.

A student stands next to the entrance gate for a school in Senegal.

The students toured several Senegalese colleges and universities.

Five students in West African clothing sit on the floor of a library in Senegal

The students visited Touba, which is the holy city of the Muridiyya, an Islamic Sufi order, and met scholars at in the Archives of the Amadou Bamba Library of the Muridiyya. Students must wear African clothing as a matter of respect in Touba. From left to right: Aiden Jereczek, Ryan Ertman, Maise Short (standing), Maya Rismiller and Fiona Martinez.

A man stands on a beach in Senegal, covered with so many plastic bags they look like the feathers of a bird.

Students met L’Homme Plastique, who’s working to eliminate plastic sack trash pollution in Senegal.

Four students in wet suits stand on a sunny beach next to surfboards

The group took a break from studying literature to surf in Dakar. From left to right: Maya Rismiller, Aidan Jereczek, Zoe Calverley, and Pam LeCrone.