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Postcolonial Urbanisms: Development, Environment, & Social Movements in Senegal


Postcolonial Urbanisms: Development, Environment, & Social Movements in Senegal  

  • Senegal: May 24-June 15, 2016 (3 weeks)
  • Instructor: Rosalind Fredericks, NYU Gallatin
  • 4 credits, TRAVL-UG 9801

Application Deadlines

  • February 1, 2016 (priority for Gallatin Dean's Scholarship, Gallatin students only)
  • March 1, 2016 (final)

Programs fill on a rolling basis and may fill quickly. Students are encouraged to apply early. Only completed applications will be reviewed. Admission decisions are based on strength of a student's academic performance and his/her personal statement, as well as space remaining in the program.

Info Session

Meet Prof. Fredericks and learn more about the course!

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016
5:00 - 6:00 PM
1 Washington Pl. (Gallatin Building), Rm. 801

Course Description

This travel course examines urban development in the postcolonial global South through the lens of cities in Senegal, West Africa. Like elsewhere across the global South, Senegal is rapidly becoming urban. This process implies a host of important transformations and challenges for development, the environment, and the socio-political lives of city dwellers. Owing to the country’s particular development trajectory, long history of urbanization, and important legacy as one of Africa’s strongest democracies, Senegal provides an especially fascinating place to examine these dynamics and grapple with their implications for urban processes all over the globe.

Rejecting the language of crisis, chaos, and exception that is so often used to characterize urbanization in the global South, the course provides theoretically and experientially informed perspectives on the way postcolonial cities work as well as the challenges that remain. Though we will draw on readings from across the global South, the course will focus on the dynamic intersections of development, environment, and social movements in Senegal in light of the country’s particular history, geography, culture, and politics.

Specifically, the course will be based in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, but will include overnight trips to the other important Senegalese cities of Saint Louis (the colonial capital of French West Africa) and Touba (the holy city of Senegal's Islamic Mouride Brotherhood) to compare the form and function of these alternative urban development trajectories.

Through a combination of course readings, classroom lectures, tours, and field visits, we will explore the legacies of colonialism and unpack a number of key contemporary debates and challenges faced by urban planners and city residents. Within Dakar, day trips will include Gorée Island, the municipal garbage dump, a traditional fishing village, and a hip hop community center. The class will meet daily and field visits will occur throughout the week and on weekends. Through the lectures and field trips, we will be exposed to multiple challenges and approaches to development from a broad variety of actors, including municipal governments, NGOs, and grassroots community-based organizations.

The class is taught in English. Survival French and Wolof language training will be offered at the beginning of the program, but proficiency in French or Wolof is desirable. Students will live in a hotel for part of the program and will spend up to one week in a home-stay with a Senegalese family.

Students are required to reside in accommodations arranged by NYU Gallatin.

Note for Gallatin students: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar.


This course is open to undergraduate students of all NYU and non-NYU schools. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be in good academic and disciplinary standing, must have completed at least two full-time undergraduate college semesters before the travel course begins, and must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2016 term.

Application Requirements


February 1, 2016 (priority for Gallatin Dean's Scholarship, Gallatin students only)
March 1, 2016 (final)

  • Online application [APPLICATION HAS CLOSED; we are no longer accepting applications]
  • Personal statement
  • Transcript (non-NYU students only)
  • Reference contact information (faculty member or primary academic adviser)

Personal Statement: A 250-500-word statement addressing academic and personal reasons for wanting to participate in this course. This should include details on how this course will fit into your academic plans. It should also detail any experience that will inform your participation in the course, including relevant coursework, language training, and travel abroad. Please address specifically any proficiency in French or Wolof and any previous travel to Africa.

Transcript: A transcript is required for non-NYU students (the Office of Global Programs will review transcripts for NYU students in Albert). An unofficial electronic transcript may be submitted through the online application (preferred) or may be emailed as an attachment to (DOC, DOCX, or PDF) or mailed/hand-delivered to Gallatin Office of Global Programs, 411 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003.

An interview is not required for program admission, but some final candidates may be contacted for an interview as needed.


  • Tuition for 4 credits: $3550
  • Program Fee (includes some meals, excursions, and entrance fees): $850
  • Housing Fee: $1350
  • NYU Registration and Services Fee: approx. $650, based on past semesters
  • Travel visa, if required: students are responsible for the cost
  • Round-trip airfare: $950 (group flight rate). NOTE: students may request to opt out of the group flight (see details in the program acceptance letter); approved students must arrange and pay for roundtrip flight, which will likely cost more than the significantly discounted group rate.
  • Other expenses to consider: the CDC recommends certain immunizations for travel to Senegal, including one for yellow fever. For more information, visit the CDC's Senegal page. Students are responsible for immunization costs.

Financial Aid


Eligibility: Current Gallatin students and incoming Gallatin transfer students (Gallatin admission must be confirmed) who apply to Gallatin January Term and Summer travel courses. Students must have good academic standing and must have a current FAFSA on file and show unmet financial need. Continuing students who will apply the course credit towards their degree requirements receive priority consideration.

The amount awarded is typically equivalent to full or half course tuition. Scholarships are awarded based on the availability of funds. Also note that the scholarship awarded will reflect the total amount that can be received from both Gallatin and NYU's Office of Financial Aid for that particular travel course. Applicants may investigate additional funding options but because summer aid for study away tends to be limited, awardees should anticipate covering the remaining costs of the program without additional aid.

Students apply for the Dean's Scholarship when submitting the travel course online application.

Dean's Scholarship Deadline: Summer 2016: February 1 (priority)

Final scholarship decisions will be made in February. Students who disqualify may receive earlier notification.


For information on other opportunities, including NYU Summer Financial Aid (which requires summer enrollment in at least 6 credits), please visit the NYU Office of Financial Aid webpage.

Past Photos from "Postcolonial Urbanisms: Development, Environment, & Social Movements in Senegal"