African Continuity Project

We have learned quite a bit about how the West has influenced the African continent. The purpose of this project is to focus on the ways in which Africans have shaped and influenced cultures outside of the continent. You will be required to do some research and briefly present your findings. Here are the requirements:

Part I Brainstorm/Initial Research
After watching the recorded lecture on the TransAtlantic Slave trade and the African legacy, find an example of an African continuity. Scholars refer to African traditions, practices, and beliefs that survived the Slave trade and continue to be practiced in their new context as African  “survivals”, “retentions” or “continuities”.Choose an African continuity (or Africanism as it is sometimes called). It may be either historical or contemporary and can include any kind of cultural practice such as music, dance, iconography, custom/belief, art/aesthetics, etc. Your topic might also focus on a tangible thing that has African origins.

Part II: Contextualization
Conduct some background research on your topic. Describe it in detail. Where and when is it commonly practiced? What is its history? You may use trusted internet sources and/or good old fashioned journal articles and books. At least 2 sources please!

Part III: Discussion and Analysis
How has this continuity shaped its new cultural context culture?
Does there appear to be an awareness of its African heritage?
What might be some of the reasons for why this continuity still persists?
Discuss the possible future of the practice.
Does it connect to anything we have discussed in class?

80%  Written Essay (2-3 single spaced pages, free of errors)
        Summary of above components

20%  5 minute discussion or sharing out of your example

A few Past Examples from students:
Coltan and Diamonds
Swing Dance
Soul Food
Stepping (Dance)
African influence in Cubism
Childrens Hand clapping games
The Banjo
The Gullah language and community
Africanisms in American English
African Roots of Blues Music

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African Continuity Project –

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