Culture & Society



The experience of living is oftentimes expressed through expressive culture such as literature, art, music, story-telling and film. It is important to situate African expressive culture within its specific social, historical, and environmental contexts. Contemporary African expressive culture reflects the unique experiences of individuals living in different environments as well as different social, political and economic circumstances. Now that you have completed the lessons within the Constructing Africa and the Histories modules, you should have a greater understanding of the complex diversity the characterizes the African continent. the ecological terrain is diversified by a wide range of distinctive environments such as desert, forest, mountains, plains, coastal, and urban landscapes. Early trade routes, colonialism and the modern world system have played a key role in social, political and economic diversification.  African expressive culture embodies this diversity by communicating the unique experiences shared by people living in a specific locale in Africa. It is therefore important that we do not approach African literature, music, art, story-telling and/or film as a monolithic, or homogeneous, body of expressive culture. In order to understand African expressive culture, we must understand the ways that it communicates the lived experiences of people living in a particular locale during a particular time.