Afro-American and African Diaspora Studies | Imaging Cultural Forms and Their Social Contexts
A590 | 26333 | Eileen Julien

AAAD-A 590 class 26333 Imaging Cultural Forms and Their Social
W 5:30-7:30, R 9:30-10:45 (meets with CMLT-C 603 & GRAD-G 731)
Professor Eileen Julien


African literature and arts are frequently used by educators to
introduce the continent to those unfamiliar with it and by social
scientists to elaborate on historical and anthropological
perspectives.  This class will encourage reflection on the sometimes
problematic uses of these “representations of Africa” in social
science, public policy, and pedagogy: Are there right and wrong
ways, better and worse ways to read such forms?  If texts and the
arts are not—as we often say, a simple reflection determined by
social contexts but part of the making of those contexts—how might
we ascertain the complexity of that relationship?
The class will design research questions on the conventions of
particular forms and/or on material factors related to cultural
production within specific urban, rural or national contexts of
interest to class members: correlations of urban development to
literary, music and visual art production; literacy or religious
affiliation and the prevalence of specific genres; place of
production and concentrations of consumers both locally and abroad;
gender and genres, reception of a text or
type of art within varied disciplines, etc.
To the extent possible, we will identify partners in Africa and
elsewhere to help refine research agendas and seek relevant data. We
will also rely on web resources, data from certain NGOs, and guest
speakers.  With the assistance of a webmaster and technical support,
the class will develop a website to post and image the results of
our research.

This course will provide an opportunity for students in a broad
range of disciplines - art, music, literature, theatre, folklore,
ethnomusicology, communication,  anthropology, history, sociology,
journalism, linguistics, and education, for example - to formulate
interdisciplinary questions about arts and culture that are relevant
to their specific interests.

For more information, contact Professor Julien (CMLT, FRIT, AAADS)