University of Notre Dame

Seeing, Hearing, and Experiencing the Africana World

AFST 20476: Seeing, Hearing, and Experiencing the Africana World

Expressive and impressionistic “making” play a pivotal role in the lives of Africana peoples in Africa and the African Diaspora. Such is, in fact, part of the poetics of Africana existence. The life settings and forms in which what might be termed “Africana expressive culture” may be seen, heard, and experienced are extraordinarily rich and diverse. Among them is a remarkable array of visual, cinematic, literary, and musical genres. Others include ritual enactments such as the liturgies and music of the Black Church; material artifacts like homes and gardens; and tactile forms such as food. All open a window onto the life experience and imaginary of the Africana world. They also shed light on the ways all members of the human family express their hopes, dreams, and longings.

This class will offer students a window onto the world of peoples of African descent through a selection of Africana films; poetry; world music; and firsthand experiences of Africana life in South Bend ? e.g., visits to places of worship, homes, restaurants, and other cites where Africana life is incarnated. A primary learning objective of the course will be to develop in students a deeper appreciation of those dimensions of Africana expressive culture that weave it into the intricate fabric of human life overall. Such appreciation promises to enhance cultural awareness and competency — two things valued highly in the 21st century workplace. This course also satisfies one of the requirements for the University?s voluntary Cultural Competency certificate.

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