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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

African Arts from the Old World to the New

Instructor(s): Lisa Aronson, Art History

What do art, language, and music have to do with the slave trade? In this seminar, we examine continuities and changes in the visual verbal and musical arts transmitted from Africa to the New World through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We begin by analyzing arts in their traditional African setting, and with an eye to their interconnectedness, the role they play in building a sense of community and their likelihood for survival in the New World. We then turn to the arts of Black cultures of Brazil, Haiti, the Caribbean, and the United States. Analyzing these arts within their proper historical and cultural framework, and from a variety of disciplines (art history, anthropology, history, folklore, comparative literature, and ethnomusicology), we consider their relationship to the arts of Africa, and, as well, how cultures use them in constructing their New World identities.

Course Offered