Despite having 54 different countries and being the world's second-most populous continent, Africa is often regarded from the outside as a single, homogeneous place. And that place, of course, is most commonly associated with tragedy, devastation, and corruption. What is the real story? Are things as bleak as they seem? How did we get to this point? This course will approach sub-Saharan Africa from the ground level, blending historical and travel writing in order to shake the simplistic stereotypes, identify meaningful themes, and also understand the many internal differences that characterize the continent. Special attention will be devoted to South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, and Sudan, among others.