This posting is an experiment in providing timely access to the contents of journals received in the Goldwater Library. We will continue to send the monthly email "New Arrivals", which includes a list of journal issues received, for the foreseeable future.
In this issue of African Arts guest editor Susan Vogel introduces eight essays characteristic of recent trends in scholarship that cover a broad spectrum of research in African art.
In the issue's introductory "First Word" essay, Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts frames the issue this way:
Here, early in the twenty-first century, we find ourselves asking major questions once again about the field of African art, about the coherence of "Africa" as a term of identification, and about the varied nature of material and intangible forms of expression ... .
First and most important, where is the study of African art headed, and does the journal [African Arts] reflect and contribute to the new directions in which the discipline is moving? Secondly, will the directions the field is taking sustain the journal ... ? Thirdly, given the growth of the discipline, can the journal cover all the bases, or will subfields such as traditional, modern and contemporary, and diasporic studies develop their own constituencies?
- Whither African art? Emerging scholarship at the end of an age | Susan Vogel
- The Meria landscape in early nineteenth-century Highlands Madagascar | Randall Bird
The ways in which political life and authority are created, maintained, or imagined through landscape are curiously undeveloped in scholarship surrounding the arts of Africa.
- Symptoms and strangeness in Yorùbá anti-aesthetics | David T. Doris
The objects that have been discussed under the privileged banner of Yorùbá art history, the graceful arts of royalty and religion, do not offer us a complete picture of Yorùbá aesthetic practice.
- Layers of awareness: intermediality and practices of visual arts in northern Côte d'Ivoire | Till Förster
Given the central role the electronic media play in contemporary and in particular urban Africa, it should come as no surprise that the so-called traditional arts can no longer occupy the same aesthetic position they did before the advent of photography, TV, video, and more recently the Internet.
- Challenges to rural festivals with the return to democratic rule in southeastern Nigeria | Eli Bentor
While it seems natural to study urban arts in their political and global dimensions, rural arts are still seen mainly as the products of a world that is insulated from national and international political and economic factors.
- Masques dogons in a changing world | Polly Richards
Over the past century, Dogon traditions of masquerade have been recognized by scholars as providing an open system of accumulation and change essential for the masks' survival. Yet paradoxically the very aspects of the masks' evolution that have proved the strength of the tradition and its ability to survive into the twenty-first century have been taken by outsiders as proof of the masks' decline.
- Redefining twentieth-century African art: the view from the Lagoons of Côte d'Ivoire | Monica Blackmun Visonà
- The historical life of objects: African art history and the problem of discursive obsolescence | Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie
This essay evaluates how the field of African art history deals with the problem of cultural and discursive changes deriving from its canonization of specific objects of African art by interrogating the Mbari architecture of the Owerri-Igbo ...
- Notes on African art, history, and diasporas within | John Peffer
What is African time? Or perhaps we should ask instead, 'What time is Africa's?' Is it now? Has it passed? Where, and when, is African art history?