CAAS notes term1 - 9.5.06 • Berlin Conference of 1845...

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Unformatted text preview: 9.5.06 • Berlin Conference of 1845 divided Africa between European countries- colonies o Social/political divides already existed but ignored. o 1000 cultures, 250 languages, very diverse • Tribe=bad. “cultural/social group” instead. Because one culture doesn’t make one type of art- they’re not isolated. Always share/spread ideas. • Urban, rural, & working abroad—artists in Africa grew w/ the rest of the world, incorporating outside influence into work. o Ex. Nbuti nets influenced design on barkcloth. Mangbetu figures often had similar design. • Primitive=also bad. Nonwestern seen as less-developed or less-evolved b/c superiority complex. Not lesser, just different culture. • Tradition vs. modern: o Not mutually exclusive. Modern/western religion & ideas can be observed in traditional ways. o Traditional= authentic to some, & more revered b/c untainted by Europe, & more modern art is regarded as tainted. HOWEVER, before European influence there was no authenticity b/c already sharing & changing ideas. European contact was just another step, albeit a big one. • Academic training in Africa o Similar to here, earn art degrees, diff. styles & some diff. media taught, but same basic idea. Some are the same as Western like photos/ oil on canvas, seen as untraditional. • Patronage another link btwn cultures, but now when Westerners purchase, ppl create art that fits Western stereotypical desires, make art look old for more value to Western customers. Also create other styles for own village use & purchase- for parades/performances, etc. • Elaborate head adornments/long nails signify wealth and high standing b/c means you’re not doing manual labor—have ppl to do it for you. • Elaborate dress/robe of kings signify authority but also are heavy & require the support of the ppl to move (as king needs support of ppl to rule) • Ephebism= kings & others of status depicted at height of health—in prime of life, yet appear frail & vulnerable in person b/c of clothing. 9.7.06 Kwame Anthony Appiah • Preservationists: fear that one eventual homogenous culture will be created by the mix/spread of Western & African culture, so try to stop it. BUT there was no original pure “African style” because it has always been mixed. This assumes that western culture overtakes but Africans can select what ideas to adopt & what not to (they’re intelligent…) & it’s condescending to assume they won’t resist some influence. o “Tradition”= combination of invention and willful forgetting isn’t equal to purity contamination, it’s not that simple. • It’s possible to understand another culture w/o agreeing or changing, just understand & learn. Actual contamination comes when ideas are changed or stolen w/o understanding of their sources....
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course CAAS 108 taught by Professor Adams during the Fall '06 term at University of Michigan.

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CAAS notes term1 - 9.5.06 • Berlin Conference of 1845...

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