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Bilad al-Sudan and Beyond: Arts of the Afro-Islamic World
/ ARTH 259
/ AFR 259
From the Swahili stone houses of East Africa to the massive earth and timber mosques of the Sahel, the story of Islam in Africa is one of cultural and spiritual hybridity expressed through material form. In this course, students will explore how artistic forms and traditions in Africa have functioned as vehicles of access and integration for Islam, enabling it to assimilate itself with numerous African contexts towards becoming the dominant religious force on the continent. In addition, students will investigate how the forms, functions, and meanings of Afro-Islamic objects across the continent reflect not just one African Islam, but many different iterations, each shaped by the specific frameworks of its cultural context. The contemporary component of the course will examine how modernity in the form of globalization, technology, and Westernization has affected Afro-Islamic artistic traditions, and how these shifts reflect larger evolutions within understandings of Islam in Africa in the contemporary period.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
three reading response papers (2 pages each), class journal, a mid-term exam, and a final exam
none, although an introductory course in art history or Islamic studies would be useful
students who have declared a major in Art History or Africana Studies
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST African Studies Electives