COLL-E 103 22728 Magic, Science and Art in Africa (McNaughton) (A & H) (3 cr.)
Why do so many Americans and Europeans see science as being very different from art while so many Africans find those differences negligible? This class will explore the complex and extremely interesting interconnections between science, magic and art in Africa, and examine how they have become disconnected in the West. Our point of departure is the vast array of African art types that so many books and museums call fetishes and spirit manifestations. All those sculptures with nails and knife blades sticking in them seem like magic to Westerners, but they are something quite like Western science to Africans, and this class will explore why. We will meet a spectacular array of deities and spirits and hopefully gain a richer comprehension of how humans deal effectively with life's important experiences.
In the process we will expand our sense of art's roles in the world, and see how complex societies plan social and spiritual strategies and make sense of the world and respond to intellectual and social challenges aesthetically. Teaching methods range from lectures to participatory exercises in small groups. The course meets for two lectures and one discussion section per week. Requirements usually include three examinations (short-answer plus essay), five short (1- 3 page) papers or "microthemes," participation in discussion, and regular attendance.