1 Foreign Cultures 86 WEST AFRICAN CULTURES Fall 2007 Mon. and Wed., 1-2 p.m. William James 105 T.F.

’s Sharon Kivenko (skivenko@fas.harvard.edu) and Andrea Allen (asallen@fas.harvard.edu) Prof. J. Lorand Matory Office: William James 310 Office hours: Tues., 1-3 Prof.’s phone 495-7826

We will explore the history and cultures of West and West-Central Africa, taking seriously the ancient involvement of this region in international politics and commerce. Equally important is the cosmopolitan dialogue that has transformed African ethnic identities, gender relations, and religious devotion in the 20th and 21st centuries. Requirements. Most classes will begin with lectures and end with discussions, in which the participation of all students is required. Films, outside of class, offer a visual supplement to the materials studied; attendance is mandatory. Those students absolutely unable to attend the scheduled screenings may view the films at Lamont (check Hollis for availability). The question at the head of each section's readings should guide your reading and viewing, and might serve as the topic of your short analytic essay, not to exceed 500 words. However, the controversies and conflicting interpretations that arise during class and study-group discussions are equally suitable topics. Every analytic essay should mount an argument, critically employing the readings and films to argue the case for your own inferences about the topic, or present a debate, based upon classmates’ disagreements of interpretation. Overall grades in the course will be determined as follows: Participation (15%), short analytic essays (25%), mid-term examination (20%), and a final examination (40%). Texts available at the Coop: Achebe, Things Fall Apart Boone, Radiance from the Waters Johnson/Sissoko, The Epic of Son-Jara Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 (second edition) Eyre, In Griot Time Matory, Black Atlantic Religion Piot, Remotely Global Carney, Black Rice Jean-Louis Bourgeois’s Spectacular Vernacular (1996) is required reading but is unavailable at the Coop. Students may borrow the copies on closed reserve or, optionally, purchase this beautiful book on line. Required books and articles are available on reserve at Lamont and Tozzer. A course pack will be available, along with the other course texts, at the Coop, third floor. Maps

2 indicating the homelands of the ethnic groups we will study can be downloaded from the course website. Class Schedule #1 INTRODUCTION--West Africa, A World Civilization (Monday, Sept. 17) #2 ECOLOGY, HISTORY, AND THE ROOTS OF WEST AFRICAN CULTURE (Wed., Sept. 19) “How have the natural environment and international commerce shaped West African social order?” Fatoye-Matory, Bunmi (1996). “I Am Not Just an African Woman.” Christian Science Monitor, 1 July, p.16. ONLINE. Wainaina, Binyavanga (2005). “How to write about Africa.” Granta 92. Mabogunje, Akin, and Paul Richards (1985). “The Land and Peoples of West Africa.” In History of West Africa, Vol. I. J.F. Ade Ajayi and Michael Crowder, eds. Pp.547. Thornton, John (1998[1992]). Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800. Pp.1-42. #3 ECOLOGY, HISTORY AND THE ROOTS OF WEST AFRICAN CULTURE-CONT’D (Mon., Sept. 24) Analytic essay due today: “How have the natural environment and international commerce shaped West African social order?” Thornton, John (1998[1992]). Africa and Africans. Pp.43-125. Raffaele, Paul (2005). “Born into Bondage.” Smithsonian, pp.64-73. ONLINE. Optional Curtin, Philip D., et al (1978). African History, Chap. 1--"The Roots of African Cultures," pp.1-37. #4 VARIETIES OF POLITICAL ORDER IN THE WEST AFRICAN PAST (Wed., Sept. 26) “How did pre-colonial West Africans govern themselves? What are the main points of variation? What diverse class, ethnic, gender and professional interests were at stake?” Horton, Robin (1976). “Stateless Societies in the History of West Africa.” In History of West Africa, Vol. I. Ajayi and Crowder, eds. Pp.87-128.

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Curtin, Philip D., et al (1978). African History, Chap. 7—“The West African Coast in the Era of the Slave Trade,” pp.213-48. FILM: “The Slave Kingdoms” (“Wonders of the African World” series) Wed. Sept 26, 3:30, William James Hall 105 Fri. Sept 28., 1:00, William James Hall 105 #5 VARIETIES OF POLITICAL ORDER—CONT’D (Mon., Oct. 1) Analytic essay due today: “How did pre-colonial West Africans govern themselves? What are the main points of variation? What diverse class, ethnic, gender and professional interests were at stake?” Bradbury, R.E. (1967). “The Kingdom of Benin.” In West African Kingdoms in the 19th Century. Daryll Forde and P.M. Kaberry, eds. Pp.1-35. Monteil, Vincent (1967). “The Wolof Kingdom of Kayor.” In Ibid., pp.260-82. Little, Kenneth (1967). “The Mende Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone.” In Ibid., pp.239-59. Optional: Hamdun, Said, and Noel King (1998[1975]). Ibn Battuta in Black Africa. Princeton: Markus Weiner. Pp.27-75 (“The West African Journey”). #6 GENDER AND KINSHIP AS PRACTICE IN AFRICAN HISTORY (Wed., Oct. 3) “Are gender and kinship statuses or options?” Miller, Joseph C. (1981). “Lineages, Ideology and the History of Slavery in Western Central Africa.” In The Ideology of Slavery in Africa. Paul E. Lovejoy, ed. Pp.41-71. Fortes, M. (1965). “Kinship and Marriage among the Ashanti.” In African Systems of Kinship and Marriage. A.R. Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde, eds. Pp.252-84. Boserup, Ester (1997[1970]). “The Economics of Polygamy.” In Perspectives on Africa. Roy Richard Grinker and Christopher B. Steiner eds., pp.506-517. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. FILM: “God gave her a Mercedes Benz” (“Mama Benz, an African market woman” [N.B., this is not the same film as “Mama Benz and the taste of money”]) Wed. Oct. 3, 3:00, Science Center Hall C (The rest of the Wednesday film screenings will begin at 3:30). Fri. Oct. 5, 1:00, William James Hall 105

4 COLUMBUS DAY (Oct. 8)—NO CLASS TODAY #7 GENDER AND KINSHIP—CONT’D (Wed., Oct. 10) Analytic essay due today: “Are gender and kinship statuses or options?” Brooks, George E., Jr. (1976). “The Signares of St. Louis and Gorée: Women Entrepreneurs in 18th-Century Senegal.” In Women in Africa. Nancy J. Hafkin and Edna Bay, eds. Pp.19-44. Matory, J. Lorand (2004). Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion, second edition, Chaps. 4 and 5. NYC: Berghahn. #8 THE SLAVE TRADE, COLONIALISM, AND THE RE-INVENTION OF TRADITION (Mon., Oct. 15) “Is there still a ‘traditional’ African culture? Was there ever?” Heywood, Linda M. (2002). “Portuguese into African: The Eighteenth-Century African Background to Atlantic Creole Cultures.” In Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora. Linda M. Heywood, ed. Pp.91-113. Cambridge, UK, New York, etc: Cambridge University Press. Matory, J. Lorand (2005). Black Atlantic Religion, Chap. One (pp.38-72). #9 SLAVE TRADE, COLONIALISM AND RE-INVENTION--CONT'D (Wed., Oct. 17) Cohen, Abner (1969). Custom and Politics in Africa, “Introduction” (pp.1-28) and Chap. 5 (pp.141-60). #10 SLAVE TRADE, COLONIALISM AND RE-INVENTION--CONT'D (Mon., Oct. 22) Donnelly, John (2005). “Burdens of oil weigh on Nigerians.” Boston Globe, 3 October. ONLINE. Achebe, Chinua (1958). Things Fall Apart. Pp. 1-125. FILM: “Les Maîtres Fous.” Wed. Oct. 24, 3:30, Science Center Hall D Fri. Oct. 26, 1:00, William James Hall 105 #11 SLAVE TRADE, COLONIALISM AND RE-INVENTION--CONT'D (Wed., Oct. 24)

5 Analytic essay due today: “Is there still a ‘traditional’ African culture? Was there ever?” Achebe, Chinua (1958). Things Fall Apart. Pp. 126-209. Senghor, Léopold Sédar (1997[1970]). “Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth Century.” In Perspectives on Africa. Roy Richard Grinker and Christopher B. Steiner eds., pp.629-636. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Diop, Cheikh Anta (1997[1974]). “The Meaning of Our Work.” In Perspectives on Africa. Roy Richard Grinker and Christopher B. Steiner eds., pp.724-27. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. #12 MID-TERM EXAM (Mon., Oct. 29) #13 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA—The Sahel (Wed., Oct. 31) “Is culture a consensus or a collision of multiple worlds?” Johnson, John William (1992[1986]). The Epic of Son-Jara: A West African Tradition (Annotated transcript of a recitation by Fa-Digi Sissòkò [1968]). Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Preface to p.50. #14 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA, CONT’D—The Sahel (Mon., Nov. 5) Johnson, John William (1992[1986]). The Epic of Son-Jara: A West African Tradition. Pp.51-101. #15 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA, CONT’D—The Sahel (Wed., Nov. 7) Bourgeois, Jean-Louis (1996[1989]). Spectacular Vernacular: The Adobe Tradition (with introduction by Basil Davidson). New York: Aperture. First half of book. FILM: “The Road to Timbuktu.” Wed. Nov. 7, 3:30, Science Center Hall D Fri., Nov 9, 1:00, William James Hall 105 VETERANS’ DAY (Nov. 12)—NO CLASS TODAY #16 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA, CONT’D—the Sahel (Wed.., Nov. 14) Bourgeois, Jean-Louis (1996 [1989]). Spectacular Vernacular: The Adobe Tradition. Second half of book, excluding Chap. 10 and Appendix.

6 #17 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA, CONT’D—the Gulf of Guinea (Mon., Nov. 19) Piot, Charles (1999). Remotely Global. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Pp.ix-104. #18 COSMOPOLITAN AFRICA, CONT’D—the Gulf of Guinea (Wed., Nov. 21) Analytic essay on “Cosmopolitan Africa” due today: “Is culture a consensus or a collision of multiple worlds?” Piot, Charles (1999). Remotely Global. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Pp.105-178. South African Press Association-AP (2005), “Like father, like son, say Togolese.” Mail and Guardian online, Sept. 13. ONLINE. Kamber, Michael (2005). “In an Untamed Tide of Violence, the Bystanders Die.” New York Times, May 5, p.A4. ONLINE. Donnelly, John (2005). “Congo rising from chaos, isolation.” Boston Globe, 10 July. Boston.com. ONLINE. Lacey, Marc (2005). “Neglected Poor in Africa Make Their Own Safety Nets.” New York Times, 28 August, p.3. ONLINE. Pitman, Todd (2005). “In Ivory Coast, French seek to mend image while keeping peace.” Boston Globe, 3 November. ONLINE. Optional Horton, Robin (1975). “On the Rationality of Conversion, Part II.” Africa 45(4):373-99. #19 WEST AFRICAN AESTHETICS IN SOCIAL CONTEXT (Mon., Nov. 26) “How does social order shape the idea of the beautiful, and vice-versa?” Eyre, Banning (2000). In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Pp.ix-120. #20 WEST AFRICAN AESTHETICS, CONT’D (Wed., Nov. 28) Eyre, Banning (2000). In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Pp.121-240. Optional Soyinka, Wole (1975). Death and the King’s Horseman. #21 WEST AFRICAN AESTHETICS--CONT'D (Mon., Dec. 3)

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Boone, Sylvia Ardyn (1986). Radiance from the Waters: Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Mende Art. Pp.ix-152. #22 WEST AFRICAN AESTHETICS--CONT'D (Wed., Dec. 5) Analytic essay due today: “How does social order shape the idea of the beautiful, and vice-versa?” Boone, Sylvia Ardyn (1986). Radiance from the Waters: Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Mende Art. Pp.153-248. Optional Ferme, Mariane, “What ‘Alhaji Airplane’ saw in Mecca, and what happened when he came home: ritual transformation in a Mende community (Sierra Leone).” In Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism: the Politics of Religious Synthesis, Charles Stewart and Rosalind Shaw eds., pp.27-44. London and New York: Routledge. Bledsoe, Caroline (1984). “The political use of Sande ideology and symbolism.” American Ethnologist 11(3):455-472. Holsoe, Svend E. (1980). “Notes on the Vai Sande Society in Liberia.” Ethnologische Zeitschrift Zürich 1: 97-111. And other articles on Sande in the same volume. African Arts (peruse this colorful journal in Tozzer) Blier, Suzanne Preston (1995). African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. On the aesthetics and power of the grotesque in the art of the Fon-Aja-Ewe group of West African cultures. #23 AMERICAN TRANSFORMATIONS OF WEST AFRICAN CULTURE (Mon., Dec. 10) “Is Africa to the black Americas as the past is to the present? What is the connection between western African and African-American cultures?” Carney, Judith A. (2001). Black Rice: the African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas, pp.1-106. Polgreen, Lydia (2005). “Ghana’s Uneasy Embrace of Slavery’s Diaspora” (correction appended). New York Times, 27 December. ONLINE. Timberg, Craig (2000). “Academic Haven for Blacks Becomes Bias Battleground” Washington Post 6 September, p.A01. ONLINE. Radin, Charles A. (1999). “A homeland, but not home.” Boston Globe, 6 September, A1, A12. ONLINE. Dugger, Celia W. (1996). “A Refugee’s Body Is Intact but Her Family Is Torn.” New York Times (Vol. CXLV, No.50, 547), pp. A1, B6-B7. ONLINE.

8 Loth, Renee, Editor (2000). “An emergency for Cape Verdeans.” Boston Globe, 5 August, pp.A14. ONLINE. Loth, Renee (2000). “41 Shots.” Boston Globe, 15 June, p.A23 Springsteen, Bruce (2000). “American Skin (41 Shots),” Lyrics. ONLINE #24 AMERICAN TRANSFORMATIONS OF WEST AFRICAN CULTURE (Wed., Dec. 12) Analytic essay due today. “Is Africa to the black Americas as the past is to the present? What is the connection between western African and African-American cultures?” Matory, J. Lorand (2005). Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé, Intro. (pp.1-37) and Chaps. 3-4 (pp.115-187). FILMS: “The King Does Not Lie” and “Iawô.” Wed. Dec 12, 3:30, Science Center Hall D Fri., Dec. 14, 1:00, William James Hall 105 #25 AMERICAN TRANSFORMATIONS OF WEST AFRICAN CULTURE and REVIEW (Tues., Dec. 20) Matory, J. Lorand (2005). Black Atlantic Religion, Chaps 5-7 (pp.188-293). Optional Thompson, Robert Farris (1983). Flash of the Spirit. Farah, Douglas (2000). “Back to Land Of No Return; African American Tourists Flock to Slave Castles in Ghana Through Which Ancestors Passed.” Washington Post, 26 July, pp.A16. ONLINE. Coleman, Sandy (1993). “It’s cool, it’s colorful…it’s clothing out of Africa.” Boston Sunday Globe (Vol.244, No.4), pp. 1, 7. ONLINE. Jones, Vanessa E. (2000). “New faith in old gods.” Boston Globe, 7 June, pp.D1, D5. ONLINE. Onishi, Norimitsu (2000). “Singer Gives Voice to Ivory Coast Anger at Leader.” New York Times,17 September, p.10. ONLINE.

Final Examination EXAM: Group 6, Tuesday January 22, 2008 [a and c:wafsyl07.doc]

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