May 29, 2023
AAST 223 - Africa, Memory & Diasporic IdentityFC ARHU CD WINT
The diremptive nature of the Atlantic Slave Trade forced the dramatic reconstruction of the lives of the millions of enslaved captives within hostile and alienating circumstances. Yet despite what James Baldwin would call the “strange grafting” (sic) of these captives and their descendants onto “Western” societies, the question of the role of pre-Western (African) forms and the idea of these forms on their social, cultural and political lives remains an active question. Africa, its histories, peoples and meaning, as an existential question lies heavily on its Diasporic descendants.
“Africa, Memory and Diasporic Identity” addresses the question of African-Americans as African peoples and how that idea has informed the social, political and cultural expressions of the African Diaspora. Starting from the presumption that the millions of Africans brought to the West were not tabula rasa but were human beings stuffed with their persona, cultural, and historical memories, “Africa, Memory and Diasporic Identity” explores the discovered and imagined effect of that presumption up on the 400 year sojourn of African descendants across the Atlantic world. Utilizing the works of historians, anthropologists, poets, novelists, filmmakers, musicians, philosophers and political theorists/activists, “Africa, Memory and Diasporic Identity” will explore across disciplines and media the question posed by Countee Cullen almost a century ago,
What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me? (“Heritage”)
Prerequisites & Notes: This is a StudiOC cluster course (Janet Fiskio and Gunnar Kwakye are the other two members of the cluster).
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