Foundations of African Thought #12: Philosophy of African Art (2018)

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Video + Secured PDF Combo

Duration: 3 Hours, 47 minutes, 19 seconds

PDF: 47 Slides

(Primary and supplementary readings not included with this product)

Week 12: Philosophy of African Art

Guest Lecture: Efo Sela Adjei

What is African Art?

  • Historiography of African Art
  • Punitive Expeditions
  • Is there an African Aesthetics?
  • Aesthetics and Criticism

– Social Functions of African Art

– Contemporary Debates in African Art Studies

– False Philosophical Foundations of “Primitivism” and “Fetishism” in African Art

– The Influence of African Art on European Art and Global Modernism

  • African Visual expressions and Visual identity
  • African Symbolism and Writing Systems
  • Art Appreciation and the African Aesthetic Experience

Reading Material:

Rene Smeets. Signs, Symbols and Ornaments.

Cultural and Social Relevance of Contemporary African Philosophy by Olúkáyọ̀dé R. ADÉṢUYÌ

African Art as the Bedrock of African Philosophy by Olúkáyọ̀dé R. ADÉṢUYÌ

Flash of the Spirit by Robert Farris-Thompson

Noel Carrol. Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction, New York, Routledge Publishers. 1999. pp.11-12.

Kwame Gyekye African Cultural Values

Rowland Abiodun. The future of African Art Studies: An African Perspective

Rowland Abiodun.  African Aesthetics

Rev. Sarpong. Ghana in Retrospect

Gene blocker. Is Primitive Art ”Art”? In P. H. Coetzee. Philosophy from Africa: A Text with Readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003. p.411.

Carl Jung. Man and His Symbols.

Adolph H. Agbo.Values of Adinkra symbols: For artists, designers, craftsmen, teachers, students, and all who use and appreciate Adinkra symbols.

Philosophy of Art by Antoon Van den Braembussche

Course Description and Objectives: The African Thinkers Program aims to fill a gap in the epistemological universe of the typical MPhil/PhD student regarding world philosophies. The course will introduce students to the core principles, modes, patterns, and history of thought and knowledge production in Africa and the African World, from antiquity to the present. In the course, we introduce students to a variety of fundamentally African concepts and ideas applicable to the development of contemporary indigenous African theoretical and conceptual frameworks for use in their own research. As such, students will acquire familiarity with rich and profound interdisciplinary primary sources (e.g., astronomy, medicine, literature, etc.). They will also be introduced to the writings of classical and contemporary African philosophers and gain an understanding of pertinent evaluative criteria and organizing principles to assist in developing their own research in innovative ways.

This course will combine lectures, discussions, and class presentations as well as guest lectures and field trips as the modes of teaching.

At the end of the course, students would have acquired an understanding of the cosmology undergirding African Thought and Philosophy; acquired some tools of analysis for differentiating among cosmologies of the world; gained an exposure to the manifestations of the fundamental tenets of the African Worldview throughout the continent and the diaspora; and become familiar with innovative approaches to the study of African Thought and their implementation in African Studies research.


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