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Senegal: Postcolonial Urbanisms

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

  • Dakar, SENEGAL: June 9-30, 2018 (3 weeks)
  • TRAVL-UG 9801 | 4 credits | Instructor: Rosalind Fredericks (NYU Gallatin)
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate, NYU and non-NYU students
  • TOPICS: African studies, urban development, environmental studies, and more

Info Session

Meet Prof. Fredericks and learn more about the course! Location: 1 Washington Pl. (Gallatin Building)

Monday, Nov. 6  ~  1:30-2:30, Rm. 801

colorful fishing boats docked on shore

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.

Gallatin students: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar as well as the Social Sciences and Global Cultures requirements.


  • Undergraduate students of all NYU and non-NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least two full-time college semesters before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing
  • Must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2018 term


*Program fee includes mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration.

IMPORTANT: the program fee becomes nonrefundable after students confirm participation in the course. Course tuition, the program fee, and other fees above are due typically by early May, according to NYU's summer billing cycle.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Round-trip airfare: $800 (discounted group flight, arranged by Gallatin)

NOTE: Traveling on the roundtrip group flight is strongly recommended due to the logistics of coordinating on-the-ground arrival/departure in Senegal. If students are approved to opt out of the group flight (see details in program acceptance letter), they must arrange and pay for roundtrip airfare, which will likely cost more than the group flight rate.

  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Fees for immunizations (the CDC recommends certain immunizations for travel to Senegal)
  • Most meals and local transportation

Financial Aid

The Gallatin Dean's Scholarship is available for this program. See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on eligibility and additional opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Health Note: Peanuts feature in Senegalese cuisine. Students with peanut allergies have navigated this successfully in the past during this course, but anyone with concerns should consult with their doctor and also contact Gallatin's Office of Global Programs for more information.

Housing: Students are required to reside in housing arranged by NYU Gallatin, which includes a hotel for part of the program and up to one week in a home-stay with a Senegalese family. Students who have questions or concerns about accessibility or disability-related accommodations should contact NYU’s Moses Center.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.

Helpful LinksLonely Planet Senegal, US State Department: Travel to Senegal

Contact Info

NYU Gallatin Office of Global Programs
411 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003
1 (212) 998-7133 phone
1 (212) 995-4265 fax

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