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African Humanities

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1. Throughout our discussion of Ancient Egypt, we were able to easily locate elements of the Egyptian belief system within their art, architecture, and literature. Specifically, the culture’s close relationship with the Nile and the theme of rebirth and renewal is seen time and again. But this inherent tie between a culture’s belief system (religious, cultural, or historical) and their monumental constructions can also be found at Aksum, Nubia, and Great Zimbabwe. Discuss the motivations of this tie at Aksum, Nubia, or Great Zimbabwe. Cite specific examples that reflect this tie from the chosen culture. How might we compare this motivation to the constructions of our own culture? Why is it important for us to locate these cultural themes and similarities across time and cultures?

2. As we have discussed, history is a construct told from only one perspective. In this class, we must always remember that we are outsider looking in and try to approach the study of culture from many angles. How might we use this dimensional approach to the study of culture when discussing the film The Gods Must be Crazy? How does this film portray Africa and the African (both black and white)? Next, select one of the Ancient African cultures addressed so far. Has this culture faced any historical discrimination? Outline your answer, citing specific details. Why do you think that this is so?

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