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. Moreover, the widely held perception is Africa's lack of written traditions as known in other societies is evidence of Africa's lack of history, and in turn civilization. Still, documenting writing and graphic writing systems in the African past is not difficult: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Coptic texts in Egypt and Ethiopia, Vai script in Liberia, Bamum script in Cameroon, Nsibidi script in Cameroon and Nigeria, as well as Arabic and Ajami scripts throughout the continent. This introductory course explores African writing and graphic writing 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. Our focus will be the translation of non-visual forms of knowledge into visual, material representation. In this course, we will examine the means by which African writing and graphic writing systems synthesize ideas, thoughts and actions through the use of signs, symbols, pictorial and/or scripts, sometimes involving objects. We will consider the rise and fall of indigenous writing and graphic writing systems, in addition to the rejection and adoption of foreign writing systems. In particular, we will pay close attention to just how African writing and graphic systems contain potentials for political, economic and social gain, central to projects of domination, power, authority and agency, as well as inspire sacred, divine thoughts, as objects of devotion and worship.