AFR 105
Materials, Meanings, and Messages in the Arts of Africa Fall 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed AFR 105 / ARTH 104

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This course introduces students to the wealth, power, and diversity of expressive forms that have characterized the arts of Africa and its Diaspora from prehistory to the present. Pulling extensively from the collections at the Williams College Museum of Art and other campus resources, students will not only experience firsthand the wide array of objects that have been produced within this vast geography, but will also come to recognize how multiple senses including sight, sound, smell, and touch play a key role in understanding how these objects work within their respective contexts. As tools of political control, social protest, divine manifestation, and spiritual intervention, these objects and their associated performances also challenge what we might typically consider art in the Western tradition and as such students will be pushed to think beyond such terms in their examinations of these rich creative traditions.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: 40
Expected: 40
Class#: 1089
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 2-page response papers, class journal on WCMA objects lab, midterm exam and final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Art History and African Studies majors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 105 Division II ARTH 104 Division I
DPE Notes: This course fulfills DPE requirements through its exploration of the differences between concepts of art in African and Western traditions, and how this difference has formed the foundation for hierarchies of power within the art world that have long disenfranchised and disempowered artists from the continent. This course highlights this historical platform in order to renovate established biases and assumptions about these objects that position them as 'primitive' or 'exotic' constructs.

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