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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rene A. Bravmann
ART H 230
Seattle Campus

The African-American Tradition: A Transatlantic View of Art and Culture

Assesses the diversity of art by individuals of African descent in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States. Examines questions of form, meaning, and symbolic and ritual behavior. Considers formal and conceptual relationships between art forms and their African sources; assesses their role in the construction of new African-American identities.

Class description

This course assesses the rich diversity of art forms produced by inviduals of African descent in the Americas where they contributed to the creation of uniquely distinctive cultures, particularly Brazil, the Caribbean and the United States. It examines both the historical, formal and conceptual relationships of these art forms with its African sources and their role in the construction of new and striking African-American identities. For the United States, it covers a time span of 300 years, from the first known works by black and mulatto artisans to contemporary artists of international standing. It looks at the formal and conceptual relationships between these art forms and their African sources and attempts to assess their role in the construciton of new and striking African-American identities. Questions of form, meaning, symbolic and ritual behaviour will be explored throughout the quarter.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures and on-going discussion.

Recommended preparation

A background in Art History helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly readings (S. Patton, "African American Art" and R.F. Thompson, "Flash of the Spirit"). Oral presentation and short paper on the career of an African-American artist.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rene A. Bravmann
Date: 02/09/2010