Looking at African Things
T 4:00-7:00pm
210 Tappan
3 Credit Seminar. Crosslisted with CAAS 407.001

In southeastern Nigeria, an Igbo proverb tells us, "You can't view a performance standing in one place." In the West, however, our understanding of African culture has long been centered on the practice of exhibiting African objects out of their vital contexts-- rendering them motionless, making them available to our consuming vision, mapping out onto them our own systems of value. Such a practice has surely unfolded in museums dedicated to the display of "African Art Objects." But those museums, and the very idea of "African Art" itself, are only part of a larger cultural machinery in which "the Dark Continent" is organized and illuminated as a spectacle, a comprehensible picture. In world's fairs, theme parks, photographic archives, and other cultural expositions too, not only African objects but also living African people are transformed into things, into images of themselves. In this course, we will examine some of the stories behind those images, which inevitably tell as much or more about "us" as they tell about "them." Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100. B.D.2,4