Nigeria's Alternate Modernity: An Examination through Media, Religion, and History

Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 quarters

Taught by

comparative religion
media arts, media and film, experimental media
  • UG


At least 24 credits of interdisciplinary studies in the humanities, visual arts and/or social sciences, especially the fields of Religious Studies, Media Arts, and Cultural Studies. This background could be achieved through a combination of courses and programs from Evergreen or another institution, though interdisciplinary Evergreen programs are strongly recommended. 

This program will explore the history, culture, and religions of contemporary Nigeria, the largest sub-Saharan African state with the region’s strongest economy. The country concurrently faces daunting challenges, ranging from terrorism to sectarianism to neoliberal economic policies that have diminished the public sector to rampant corruption. This dynamic tension makes Nigeria a ripe location from which to learn more about the postmodern/postcolonial condition generally of the global south. With respect to culture, this program will concentrate particularly on Nigeria’s unique ecosystem of mass media film and television production (known colloquially as Nollywood) that has emerged as a major force in global film culture.

During fall students will gain a foundation in Nigerian history and culture, with a particular focus on the role of colonialism, post-colonial political realities, and varying religious practices in Nigeria—from the Pentecostal Christian, to the animist, to the synchronistic, to the Islamic. We take as a starting point that Nigeria is a prime example of the alternate modernity experienced in much of the global South during the period of the West’s industrial revolution and enlightenment periods. Nigerian history during the same period was marked by cultural and military decline, colonial plunder, and loss of territory and sovereignty, a set of deep challenges from which Nigeria is still trying to recover. Part of this recovery is found in Nigeria’s world-famous artistic production. Students will learn about the uniquely Nigerian modes of film and video production and its influence in West Africa and throughout the African Diaspora. Simultaneously students will learn simple video- and audio-production skills grounded in principles of accessibility and community-minded/influenced media practice.

In winter students will deepen their understanding of the contemporary culture, gain a more tangible sense of Nigeria’s history, politics, and social challenges, and use their media skills to create collaborative video reflections of their learning. Pending review of Nigeria’s security situation, students will travel to Nigeria for these experiences. Alternative arrangements for learning opportunities will be made if necessary.

Program Details

Fields of Study

media arts media studies religious studies study abroad

Preparatory For

religious studies, media studies, and media arts.


Fall Signature Winter Closed

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Study Abroad

Nigeria, 7 Weeks, Winter, approximately $5000. For details on study abroad, visit or contact Michael Clifthorne at .

Time Offered


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning