African Culture: The Rhythms of Unity

African Culture: The Rhythms of Unity

African Culture: The Rhythms of Unity

African Culture: The Rhythms of Unity

Synopsis

Africa, according to the contributors to this anthology, is one cultural river with numerous tributaries articulated by their specific responses to history and the environment. They concentrate on the similarities in behavior, perceptions, and technologies of African culture that tie those tributaries together. The fourteen original essays by leading scholars of African studies are organized in four general divisions which consider the ethno-cultural motif, the artistic tradition, concepts of cultural value, and cultural continua.

Excerpt

Before the appearance ofCheikh Anta Diop African Origin of Civilization (1971), African culture was typically examined by Western- trained scholars from a European perspective. Those scholars, often wrapped in the swaddling clothes of a fully emergent European ideology, were often incapable of understanding the unity of African culture. Diop masterpiece, African Origin of Civilization, and its companion, Cultural Unity of Black Africa, turned historiography around and provided the basis for an Afrocentric transformation.

To make clear the perspective of this volume in connection with the African culture, a few comments must be made. It has been common for writers to speak of the diversity of African cultures in ways not used in reference to European or Oriental cultures. In some respects, the literature of culture, in all of its many aspects, has tended to teach that Western, European, Occidental culture and Eastern, Asian, Oriental culture are the two existing phenomena in world history. In their limited knowledge of Africa, Western and Western-trained scholars have often cast a fog over cultural understanding of the African people.

Africa, this volume tells us, is one cultural river with numerous tributaries characterized by their specific responses to history and the environment. In this way we have always seen Europe after the Christian manifestations. England, Norway, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, etc., were one culture although at the same time they were different.

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