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UW Class Discusses Diversity in Agriculture Via Video Conference

February 10, 2009 — Students in a University of Wyoming Agriculture Rooted in Diversity course recently held a special video conference discourse with world-renowned author, Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

Thiong'o is a novelist, essayist, playwright, academic and theorist of post-colonial literature and a leading proponent of diversity of languages.

In a lively discourse with about 50 students at three different UW video sites, Thiong'o shared his ideas about language, culture and agriculture. He also answered students' questions about the book the class had studied, his classic work "Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language of African Literature." He told the class that there is a connection between culture, which was originally the notion of cultivating the mind, and agriculture, which is the cultivation of the land.

On diversity of languages, Thiong'o stressed the importance of learning from the diversity of nature and agriculture.

"He said that there is constant communication within nature, and even small insects play an important part in that communication," said Gatua wa Mbugwa, UW instructor who organized the program. "Thiong'o said that in this respect, languages small or big have important roles to play for the benefit of human beings."

wa Mbugwa teaches one of the two sections of Agriculture Rooted in Diversity course. Jack Preston teaches the other section. The course focuses on Wyoming agriculture within the larger context of ethnic and women's studies nationally and internationally.

Thiong'o is the Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature and director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. He has received many honors including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Letters.

Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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