ARCH 566 /AAS 406D

March 22 -
The Impress of Religion on the West African Landscape

Guest Faculty: Matthew Engelke and Benjamin C. Ray

I. Class Outline

We will meet for the entire class at 108 Minor Hall.

6-7:20: Matthew Engelke will lecture on religion in Africa, with a particular focus on Islam and Christianity in West Africa.

7:30-9: Benjamin C. Ray will discuss traditional religious practices in relation to the present-day cultural landscape of West Africa, using images from the Cape Coast Archive and his own collection. He will also introduce us to his on-line archive, African Art: Aesthetics and Meaning.

Please be prepared to discuss assigned readings below.

II. Readings

Read closely for discussion:

  • For Engelke: Anthony Appiah, In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (Oxford University Press, 1992), Ch. 6, Old Gods, New Worlds: 107-137

  • For Ray: Judith Perani and Fred T. Smith, The Visual Arts of Africa: Gender, Power, and Life Cycle Rituals (Prentice Hall), "The Fante" and "New Directions in Akan Art," 123-125.

  • For Ray: Monica Blackmun Visona, et al., A History of Art in Africa, "Age-Grade Arts of the Lagoons People," "Arts of Fante Military Companies," "Lives Well Lived," 220-226.

Skim for background:

  • Paul Gifford, African Christianity: Its Public Role (Indiana University Press, 1998), Ch. 3, Ghana: 57-111.

III. Resources

"Art and Life in Africa" CD-ROM -- available on reserve at Clemons and the Fine Arts libraries [Call number: N72 .S6 A74]

African Arts -- journal available at Fine Arts library -- NX 587 .A32

The Grove Dictionary of Art

National Museum of African Art

Smithsonian Institution -- African Voices

Ben Ray's African Art and the Virtual Museum

Ben Ray's The Art of the African Mask