AAS 208 - Introduction to African Art
Section: 001
Term: FA 2011
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Through the study of a selected group of African and African Diaspora cultures, we will investigate several pivotal issues and narratives that lie behind the surfaces of some extraordinary objects and practices. African people have their own stories to tell about these things, of course: stories of mythic power expressed as living form, stories of historical contact with other cultures, stories of struggle and redemption, stories of ordinary, everyday life. And over the past several centuries, we in the “West” also have had a decisive, often disturbing hand in the framing of African peoples, objects, and stories. The coupled histories of colonialism and the slave trade, along with our inevitably distorted views and representations of what African people are and what they do, have affected Africa and its peoples to the core. When we look at and think critically about “African Art,” then, we necessarily must look at and think critically about ourselves. Ultimately, the goal is to understand aspects of African cultures in the terms by which Africans understand them — to know African ideals and realities as they are shaped in word, sound, matter, and movement.

In this course, we’ll be taking a few steps towards that goal. In lectures and weekly discussion sections, in films, recorded sound, and perhaps even in live performance, we will examine objects and the many stories that surround them. Looking and listening closely, we will learn to see and to understand a wide range of African visual practices including architecture, textiles, body adornment, painting, graphic communication systems, photography, dance, ritual performance and, of course, sculpture — not only as these practices continue to unfold on the African continent, but also as they are transformed, and as they endure, in the African Diaspora.

B. E. 4

Course Requirements:

No data submitted

Intended Audience:

No data submitted

Class Format:

Lecture and weekly discussion

AAS 208 - Introduction to African Art
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
002 (DIS)
003 (DIS)
004 (DIS)
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Apologies for the late posting of these books. No worries, though: I'll copy what I can if the books don't arrive soon.
ISBN: 9780394723693
Flash of the SPirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy, Author: Robert Farris Thompson, Publisher: Vintage 1984
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780810927056
The royal arts of Africa : the majesty of form, Author: Blier, Suzanne Preston., Publisher: H.N. Abrams 1998
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780060891541
On writing well : the classic guide to writing nonfiction, Author: Zinsser, William Knowlton., Publisher: HarperCollins 2006
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for AAS 208 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)