Spring 2022

Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-353  |  Black Studies, as BLST-315

Formerly listed as: BLST-42


Rowland O. Abiodun (Section 01)


(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, visual analysis, museum visits Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Igo Arts: Community and Cosmos Cole, Herbert Amherst Books TBD
Art of the Dogon Ezra, Kate Amherst Books TBD
Art and Religion in Africa Hackett, Rosalind Amherst Books TBD
Efuru Nwapa, Flora Amherst Books TBD
Death and the King's Horseman Soyinka, Wole Amherst Books TBD
A Short Guide to Writing About Art Barnet, Sylvan Amherst Books TBD
City of 201 gods Univ. of California Press, 2011 Olupona, Jacob K. Amherst Books TBD
Yoruba Art and Language Abiodun, Rowland Amherst Books TBD
Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought Drewal, Henry Amherst Books TBD
The Asante McLeod, M.D. Amherst Books TBD
Things Fall Apart Achebe, Chinua Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2023