Spring 2022 Course Highlight | Ancient Arts of Africa: The Nile & Niger Rivers

This spring, Dr. Marguerite Lenius will be teaching AH 303: “Ancient Africa: The Nile & Niger Rivers,” MWF 11:00–11:50am, in-person, fulfilling the L&S credit and humanities breadth. “The evolution of [artistic] style is like a large river, receiving water from neigbouring currents and giving off water to other currents, but nevertheless pushing a large mass of fluid downstream in time. Rivers can take on tributaries, lose tributaries, meander and fork…or they can flow smooth and straight in the same channel. There are no single ancestors and yet there are ancestors and there are continuing streams. We need a model of streaming traditions.”- Jan Vansina, Art History in Africa Responding to Jan Vansina’s classic Art History in Africa, this course explores the rivers of art and visual culture of various ancient city-states, kingdoms, and empires that coalesced around the Nile and Niger Rivers, including those of Egypt, Nubia, Nok, Igbo Ukwu, Ife, Owo, Benin and the Lower Niger Bronze complex. We will assess the visual, oral, and cultural evidence for sources, convergences, diffusions, and independent inventions as we attempt to reconstruct histories and comprehend the beauty, richness, and diversity of artistic traditions in these regions. Enroll here.