AFR 419
Going to Ground: Considering Earth in the Arts of Africa Fall 2015 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as ENVI419 / AFR419 / ARTH419
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Drawing its inspiration from the landmark exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa (National Museum of African Art, 2013), this seminar explores how earth has been conceptualized and integrated into African artistic thought as material, metaphor, geography, environment, and intervention, and how this interpretive flexibility has allowed it to become a symbol of power and presence in African art-making from prehistory to the present. The seminar will also focus on the ways in which earth has been used in contemporary art towards addressing the growing problems of pollution, unsustainable development, and the widespread depletion of earth-based natural resources in Africa. Over the course of this seminar, students will develop a knowledge base of earth-related issues that have been addressed in African artistic production, and engage with various cross-disciplinary methodologies to critically analyze the conceptual and aesthetic strategies deployed in these works. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with specialists from diverse disciplines and fields towards fleshing out their knowledge base. This course fulfills EDI requirements through its exploration of the effects of globalization and modernization on the African natural environment, and its engagement with diverse cultural legacies, socio-political systems, and economic realities on the continent as contributors to art-making strategies deployed by contemporary African environmental artists. Students will also explore the ways in which African artists have internalized the various conditions and situations of their contexts as individuals defined by gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, etc. as well as members of distinctive cultures and communities.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1474
Requirements/Evaluation: four 2-page response papers, 2-page paper proposal, final paper (15 pages) with presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: some coursework in ARTH and/or AFR would be useful
Enrollment Preference: seniors and majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARTH or ENVI; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR
Attributes: ARTH post-1600 Courses; GBST African Studies Electives;

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