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

Dakar, Saint Louis, and Touba, Senegal: January 3-22, 2015 (3 weeks)
Rosalind Fredericks, Assistant Professor, NYU Gallatin
4 credits, TRAVL-UG 9801



Application Deadline

October 24, 2014

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

Coming soon!

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 urbanism in the global South and beyond.

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 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 African) and Touba (the holy city of Senegal's Islamic Mouride brotherhood) to compare the form and function of these alternative urban histories and development strategies. Through a combination of course readings, classroom lectures, tours, walks, 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, specific day trips will include: Goree Island, the municipal garbage dump, a traditional fishing village, and a hip hop community center Through these 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 and meets daily. Group field visits occur throughout the week and on weekends. Students are required to utilize accommodations arranged by Gallatin. They will live in a hotel for part of the program, and will also spend up to one week in a home-stay with a Senegalese family. Survival Wolof and French language training will be offered at the beginning of the program.

Students are required to fly as a group on a roundtrip flight arranged and purchased by NYU Gallatin and are also required to reside in accommodations arranged by Gallatin.

Note for Gallatin students: this course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar core requirement.


This course is open to undergraduate students of all NYU schools. Applicants must have completed at least two full-time college semesters and be currently enrolled in a college or university. Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Application Requirements


October 24, 2014

  • Online application
  • Personal statement
  • Transcript
  • 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 concentration and academic plans. It should also detail any previous experience that will inform participation in the course, including relevant coursework, language training, and travel abroad. Students should submit the personal statement through the online application.


An unofficial electronic transcript may be submitted through the online application (preferred) or may be emailed as an attachment to gallatin.global@nyu.edu (DOC, DOCX, or PDF) or mailed/hand-delivered to Gallatin Office of Global Programs, 411 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003.


  • Tuition for 4 credits: approx. $5,156
  • Program Fee: $1,500 (includes airfare, housing, local travel, excursions, language lessons, and most meals)
  • Vaccines: Senegal requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccine for entry into the country. Check the CDC's recommended vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. Students are responsible for this expense.

Financial Aid

Students who are enrolled at Gallatin when applying for Gallatin's winter and summer travel courses may apply for the Dean's Scholarship for Travel Courses. Scholarship applicants must have a current FAFSA on file and must show unmet financial need. Scholarships are awarded based on the availability of funds.

Gallatin students may apply for the Dean's Scholarship when submitting the travel course online application.

Dean's Scholarship Deadlines

Winter Travel Course: October 24
Summer Travel Course: February 8

For information on additional financial aid opportunities, please visit the NYU Office of Financial Aid.

Information for Admitted Students

Coming soon!

Rosalind Fredericks

Rosalind Fredericks, Professor, Postcolonial Urbanisms

Rosalind Fredericks’ research and teaching interests are centered on the political economy of development, global urbanism and postcolonial identities in Africa. With a background in cultural geography, her own work is focused on urban politics and social movements in contemporary Dakar, Senegal. more>

Gallatin students in Dakar & Saint Louis Senegal, 2013:


Course Application



OCTOBER 24, 2014


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