CAAS 215 - African Visual Cultures: Akan/Kongo/Yoruba
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course introduces a broad range of perspectives on African visual cultures by focusing closely on three cultural groups: the Akan and the Yoruba of West Africa, and the Kongo of Central Africa. Each of these groups is comprised of many ethnic groups with unique and well documented histories that long precede Europe's supposed "discovery" of Africa in the 15th century. Beginning with a lot of the archaeological treasures of each region's ancient history, we will continue by examining the many roles of visual images in cultural contexts before, during and after the era of European Colonialism, as well as in Diasporic transformations. The images in question will be diverse, such as sculpture in several media, beadwork, architecture, ceramics, textiles, medicines, museum displays, photographs, digital images, and spectacular performances. Discussion topics will be thematic and cross-cultural, for example: How do images both reflect and constitute the political life of a people? How does the spiritual power to cure or to harm come to reside within images? Can an image really be a god, or only a representation of the god? How do images communicate without words, encoding in form what cannot be said out loud? How do images call viewers to remember the past, to understand the present, and to imagine the future?

Crs Requirements: Two papers (5-7 pages), one final exam (take-home essay), and class participation.

Intended Audience: The course would be appropriate for wide-range of students (even first-year students) from virtually any discipline or concentration, who feel they would like a more intensive introductory experience of the Art and Visual Culture of Africa than that offered by HISTART/CAAS 108.

Class Format: The class will meet twice a week, and will combine lecture and discussion. At least one fieldtrip to the Detroit Institute of Art is planned.

CAAS 215 - African Visual Cultures: Akan/Kongo/Yoruba
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

In addition to the Royal Arts of Africa, additional reading assignments will be posted as PDFs on Library Reserves and the course CTools site.
ISBN: 013183343X
Royal arts of africa : the majesty of form., Publisher: Prentice Hall 1998
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