Print Version

Effective: Summer 2016

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture, 1.5 hours laboratory. (66 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will be able to identify and analyze within their socio-historical contexts a variety of art objects and related traditions from Africa (e.g., Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, etc.), Oceania (e.g., New Guinea, Hawaii, Rapa Nui, etc.) and Native North America (e.g., Pueblo, Inuit, Northwest Coast, etc.)
  • A successful student will be able to evaluate and examine the role of ethnic/cultural heritage in your own life and in contemporary American society as a whole, based on an understanding of African, Oceanic, and Native American traditions (such as personal adornment, ancestor commemoration, etc.) discussed in Art 2D.
Description -
A chronological and thematic examination of arts produced by a selection of societies from Africa, Oceania, and Native North America. Includes the influences of these diverse non-Western arts on American art and society. Art objects will be analyzed within the relevant social and historical context and as part of a larger matrix of myth, ritual, religious belief, politics, and worldview. Includes an examination of art from West Africa (e.g., Nigeria: Ife, Benin, Yoruba, Igbo, etc.), Melanesia (e.g., New Guinea), Polynesia (e.g., Hawaii, Rapa Nui, New Zealand), and Native North America (e.g., Woodlands, Southwest, Plains, Northwest Coast, Arctic and Subarctic, etc.).

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Systematically develop an appreciation for and an ability to interpret and analyze significant art works and aesthetic traditions from a variety of cultures in Africa, Oceania, and Native North America.
  2. Deepen knowledge of the human condition in the process of recognizing and discussing enthnocentrism and how world-view affects judgments about and appreciation of art.
  3. Examine and evaluate art within a diverse variety of socio-historical contexts, contrasting assemblages of transient art forms (e.g., objects functioning in ritual or festival events) with a western traditional emphasis on the object (e.g., paintings, sculptures, etc.)
  4. Develop the ability to identify and think critically about multi-cultural aesthetic parallels as a means of discerning how art functions in society and describes social values.
  5. Develop broad-based cultural foundations for understanding art by examining and comparing non-western art traditions to contemporary multi-cultural American art.
  6. Appreciate our common humanity by developing an understanding of art production and creativity in the visual arts within diverse cultural contexts.
  7. Think critically and make reasoned judgments about appropriation and public exhibition of non-western arts within the context of western museums.
  8. Recognize significant contributions of African, Oceanic, and Native American artistic traditions in the development of American art and society.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus: slide collection, access to digital images, projection equipment, screen, VCR/DVD.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: ongoing access to a computer with e-mail software and capabilities, e-mail address, and Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Introduction to African Art; Ancient Nigeria (Nok, Ife)
    1. past (mis)conceptions of "primitive" art; ethnocentrism
    2. archaeology and art in Nigeria
  2. Nigeria: Royal Arts of Benin Kingdom
    1. 1897 British Punitive Expedition and western art collecting/repatriation/museum exhibition issues concerning African art
  3. Nigeria: Yoruba and Ibgo Art
    1. influence of Yoruba art and religion in the Americas; santeria and Yoruba altars in the New World
    2. royal Yoruba arts contrasted with more egalitarian Igbo art and society
    3. Igbo altars to the earth deity, Ala, and "foreign-import" Mamy Wata
  4. Ghana: Akan/Ashante Art
    1. the origins of kente cloth
    2. relationships between word and image in Akan art; the significance of the oral traditions (e.g., proverbs, etc.) in Ghana
  5. Introduction to Oceanic Art; Melanesia (New Guinea: Mt. Hagan, Abelam, Asmat; New Ireland)
    1. Rockefeller collection of Asmat art at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art; collection and exhibition concerns regarding context of AOA art
    2. contrasting art produced by coastal and mountain cultures in New Guinea
  6. Polynesia: New Zealand Maori
    1. Maori moko and contemporary moko
  7. Hawaii; Fiji, Tonga, Samoa
    1. aristocratic arts and architecture of Hawaiian royalty
    2. concepts of mana/tapu
    3. Pacific Island contributions to contemporary American art
  8. Introduction to Native North American Art; Woodlands
  9. Southwest, Plains, Far West
    1. horse culture and the impact of introducing the horse to Plains societies; aesthetics of mobility
    2. contemporary Plains beadwork and contributions to American art today
  10. Northwest Coast, Arctic and Subarctic
    1. traditions of reciprocity in NWC art: the potlach, etc.
    2. Northwest Coast creation stories and contemporary NWC art and architecture
    3. the importance of spirit in Inuit belief and art
  11. Contemporary and Modern Native American Art
    1. continuity and change in Native American art tradition in contemporary American culture
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Discussions based on required readings in text and related online weekly lesson modules. Questions posed in lessons to be discussed in online (written) discussion forums or in traditional classroom.
  2. Weekly essay assignments based on readings of text and lesson modules online to evaluate ongoing student learning; research paper/museum report essay assignment project may be assigned.
  3. Two midterms and one final examination; examinations may include slide identification, term definition and slide comparison essay, short answer and objective questions.
Representative Text(s) -
The most recent edition of readings from a selection of the following texts:
Berlo, Janet C. and Lee Ann Wilson, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1998.
Berlo, Janet C. and Ruth B. Phillips, Native North American Art, New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.
D'Alleva, Anne, Arts of the Pacific Islands (Perspectives), New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1998.
Garlake, Peter, Early Art and Architecture of Africa, New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.
Hanson, Allam and Louise Hanson, Art and Identity in Oceania, Honolulu, Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1990.
Kasfir, Sidney Littlefield, Contemporary African Art World of Art, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2000.
Penney, David W. and George Horse Capture, North American Indian Art World of Art, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2004.
Thomas, Nicolas, Oceanic Art World of Art, New York, Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Willett, Frank, African Art World of Art, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2002

Note: When taught via Foothill Global Access, supplemental lectures, handouts, tests and assignments delivered via e-mail or internet; feedback on tests and assignments delivered via e-mail or internet; class discussion may be delivered in chat rooms, listservers and newsgroups.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
.Lecture, Discussion, Electronic discussions/chat, Laboratory, Field trips
Lab Content -
Lab hours consist of one or more of the following options:
  1. Online students must (and traditional classroom students may) participate in one and one half hours per week of online discussions in Etudes based on questions posed in weekly lessons. This participation consists of students' postings in answer to written questions provided by the instructor and/or postings in response to other student comments in an online discussion forum.
  2. Traditional classroom/online students will visit local museums and view actual works of art in preparation for a written museum report assignment. Time spent on museum visits and the related essay assignment must be at least one and one half hours per week.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading Assignments: Reading of one of more textbook chapters for each weekly lesson (e.g., Chapters 1-3 in Willett African Art) plus online lesson/module. Additional reading and research required for museum report assignment project.
  2. Writing Assignments: Weekly writing assignment based on text and lessons such as the following:
Assignment 1
Question 1 of 2
Frank Willett, the author of your textbook on African Art claims, that although African sculpture is a highly developed and extremely sophisticated art form with thousands of years of history behind it, yet it is still sometimes discussed as a subdivision of 'primitive art' (Willett: 26).
  1. Using your own words and your understanding of the use of term primitive in the study of African art history, explain why this term may be considered ethnocentric (Willett: 28).
  2. What are the origins of the use of the term primitive in African art history and when and from what scientific theory did it develop, according to Willett?
  3. On what grounds do some art historians defend the use of the term primitive art in classifying African art? Do you feel their defense has any merit? Explain.
  4. Based on your readings on this subject, what do you feel are the main reasons that we should abandon the use of the term primitive in discussions of African art?
Question 2 of 2
Although we will consider a number of sculptural traditions covered by Willett in Chapter 3 of African Art in later Lessons, Lesson 1 examined two archaeological cultures from present day Nigeria Nok and Ife. In establishing a History of African Art, Willett also considers the history of rock paintings and engravings. Since our Lessons are concerned mostly with West African sculpture, this question will provide an opportunity to consider Saharan rock painting.
  1. Which of the Saharan rock paintings in the Tassili illustrated and described by Willett in Chapter 3 intrigued or surprised you the most? Select an example of a Tassili painting illustrated the text and explain why you found this example particularly fascinating. Be sure to include the figure number and other identifying information in your citation for the image; you may wish to review the section on citations in the instructions for Assignment 1 (under important note.)
  2. Using the terms and vocabulary from the style continuum' that I introduced in Lesson 1, describe, in detail and to the best of your ability, the image you selected from Tassili. Be sure to include subject matter, style, color, and any other information gleaned from reading Willett; be sure to cite your sources as instructed above.
  3. Compare and contrast the painting you selected with one or two other rock paintings illustrated in Willett. Be sure to identify each image in detail. Are there similarities between the various images? Differences? (e.g., in subject, style, time, materials, location, etc.) What do these images tell us about the cultures that produced them?
  4. Are you able to find any other Tassili paintings online? Please include links to urls.