Africa is known as the continent of orality. Notions of African antiquity as quintessentially pre-literate, non-literate or illiterate remain decidedly intact in the Western imaginary. What is more, the widely held perception Africa's lack of written traditions as known in other societies is seen as evidence of Africa's lack of history, and in turn civilization. Yet, documenting African writing and graphic systems is not difficult: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic texts, Vai script in Liberia, Bamum script in Cameroon, Nsibidi script in Cameroon and Nigeria, as well as Arabic and Ajami scripts exist throughout the continent. This introductory survey course explores African writing and graphic systems as materialized traces of knowledge central to the ways in which Africans construct and document ideas about themselves, others and the world around them, in the past and present. In this class we will ask: What is the nature of knowledge? How is knowledge archived? What is the relationship of knowledge to writing and graphic systems?