African Rhythms, Ideas of Sin and the Hammond Organ: A Brief History of Gospel Music’s Evolution

A choir sings traditional gospel music. Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller For the enslaved Africans, music – rhythm in particular – became a tool of communication about their conditions. Later, it laid the foundation for spirituals and gospel songs. By Dr. Robert Stephens / 02.28.2018 Professor of World Music University of Connecticut The enslaved Africans who first arrived in the British colony of Virginia in 1619 after being forcefully removed from their natural[…]

Indian Stone Tools Could Dramatically Push Back Date When Modern Humans First Left Africa

Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerged during excavation at Attirampakkam. Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India Modern humans could have left Africa shortly after evolving, making it to India in tens of thousands of years. By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney / 01.31.2018 Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology University of Central Lancashire We are all children of Africa. As members of the hominin species Homo sapiens, you and[…]

African Tools Push Back the Origin of Human Technological Innovation

By about 320,000 years ago, humans in Kenya began using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools. Human Origins Program, Smithsonian Scientists have discovered sophisticated tools in Kenya that are much older than expected.    By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney (left) and Dr. Anthony Sinclair (right) / 03.15.2018 Randolph-Quinney: Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, University of Central Lancashire Sinclair: Professor of Archaeological[…]

A Geographical Analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa

Photo by Edward Harris, Africa Progress Panel, Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Identifying the Boundaries Figure 7.1 The Continent of Africa / Map courtesy of University of Texas Libraries Subsaharan Africa includes the African countries south of the Sahara Desert. The African Transition Zone cuts across the southern edge of the Sahara[…]

A History of African Civilizations

Old Lime kiln in Simplon Namibia / Photo by Hp.Baumeler, Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Early Africa 1.1 – The Bantu Migration 1.1.1 – Overview The Bantu expansion, or a postulated millennia-long series of migrations of speakers of the original proto-Bantu language group, originated from the adjoining regions of[…]

The Americas, Europe, and Africa before 1492

Overview of Pueblo Bonito / Photo by John Wiley, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. P. Scott Corbett, et.al.  Professor of History Ventura College Introduction In Europe supported by Africa and America (1796), artist William Blake, who was an abolitionist, depicts the interdependence of the three continents in the Atlantic World; however, he places gold armbands on the[…]

Form and Meaning in African Art

Helmet Mask, 19th-20th century, Sierra Leone, Moyamba region, Mende or Sherbro people, wood, metal, 47.9 x 22.2 x 23.5cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) By Dr. Christa Clarke / 10.09.2016 Senior Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas Newark Museum Abstraction and Idealization Realism or physical resemblance is generally not the goal of the African artist. Many[…]

The ‘Oral’ Nature of African Unwritten Literature

The significance of performance in actualization, transmission, and composition. Audience and occasion. Implications for the study of oral literature. Oral art as literature. By Dr. Ruth Finnegan Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology The Open University Introduction Africa possesses both written and unwritten traditions. The former are relatively well known—at any rate the recent[…]

Thinking, Researching, and Writing Africa: Insights from Nigeria’s Tutuola

Amos Tutuola’s work is enjoying renewed interest and support. Flickr/vanderfrog, Creative Commons By Dr. Francis B. Nyamnjoh / 01.18.2018 Professor of Social Anthropology University of Cape Town For many years, Amos Tutuola, the Nigerian author who was born in 1920 and died in 1997, was despised, ridiculed and made to appear exotic and primitive. He was dismissed[…]

Forgotten Failures of African Exploration

A native of the Kayaye village, dressed head to toe in boughs and leaves as part of the Kongcorong ceremony. Featured in Major William Gray’s account of his doomed expedition in Africa – Internet Archive Dane Kennedy reflects on two disastrous expeditions into Africa organised by the British in the early-19th century, and how their lofty ambitions[…]

Aesthetics: The Role of Visual Expression in African Art

Pair of Diviner’s Figures, Côte d’Ivoire, central Côte d’Ivoire, Baule peoples, wood, pigment, beads and iron, 55.4 x 10.2 x 10.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) By Dr. Christa Clarke / 10.09.2016 Senior Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas Newark Museum The Role of Visual Expression in Africa Because many tradition-based African artifacts serve a[…]

The AMNH ‘Man in Africa Hall’ at 50: Exploring African Ethnographic History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NY circa 2000. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.    By Dr. Enid Schildkrout (left) and Jacklyn Lacey (right) / 10.14.2017 Schildkrout: Curator Emerita of African Ethnology, Division of Anthropology Lacey: Museum Specialist II, African Ethnology, Pacific Ethnology American Museum of Natural History The “Man in Africa Hall”[…]