Honors | Introduction to African Art (FINA)
A155 | 28544 | Diane Pelrine


DIS F 10:10-11:00am
LEC MW 10:10-11:00am

From masks as tall as people to figures bristling with nails,
African art presents an exciting visual diversity. This course
surveys the major themes and traditions of sub-Saharan African art,
examining materials, styles, functions, meanings and the contexts in
which art is used. We will consider a variety of forms—including
masks, figures, architecture, textiles, jewelry, and household
objects—that have traditionally played important roles in the
spiritual, social, and political lives of people in sub-Saharan
Africa. In the process, students will also acquire considerable
knowledge about African geography, history, and other aspects of
culture. The focus is on traditional arts, but popular and
contemporary arts also will be explored.

By the end of the semester, students will have developed an
appreciation and understanding of the power, richness, and
complexity of Africa’s visual arts and to be able to associate some
types of objects and forms with particular areas and/or groups of
people. In addition, students will develop skills in visual
analysis, evaluative reading, research, and critical thinking,
particularly relating to African art.

This course consists of two lectures and a discussion section each
week. Attendance is required. Other course requirements are a map
quiz, two exams, a final exam that is partially cumulative, two
short papers, and a short article review. The discussion section for
Hutton Honors College students will emphasize looking at works of
art in the original at the IU Art Museum and examining issues
connected with the collection and display of African art. In
addition to the regular course requirements, Honors section students
will also have some additional reading and one of the papers will be
a bit longer.