[A] This course will focus on African popular culture, with emphasis on music, literature, cinema, and fine art. African popular arts have been marginalized in the academia because they usually deviate from pre-colonial indigenous forms and are often nonconforming to the aesthetic preferences of European elite artistic traditions that were introduced to the continent during colonial rule. This course will examine the status of African popular arts as artistic categories and sites of contested ideas as well as the ways in which they challenge, undermine, and complicate entrenched notions of aesthetics and authenticity. Class discussions will be richly illustrated with relevant literary and dramatic texts, music, film, painting and sculpture in examining the political significance of artistic hybridity and the role of individual agency in the process of recasting older African and European art forms in new ways. Professional artists and scholars with diverse expertise will visit the class.
Requisite: At least three Five-College courses in African Studies or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Open to juniors and seniors. Spring semester. Professor Abiodun and Five College Africanist Faculty.