Why is there so much famine? Why so many civil wars? Why so much misunderstanding? To place current events in Africa in a meaningful framework, this course explores indigenous African cultures, drawing on ethnographic examples from selected ethnic groups representing major subsistence strategies, geographical and ecological zones, and patterns of culture. We will explore how cultural practices and ecology influence each other and affect the lives of Africa’s farmers, herders, and workers. We will also examine new social and cultural practices that influence the survival of societies. Consequently, we will locate indigenous coping strategies within their historical context, in order to understand their role in contemporary society, and to answer another question: What are the social strengths of African societies?
Corequisite: An evening film series will accompany this course. Six films will be screened over the course of the term. Th 8:30pm – 10:00pm.