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|ARTS 230 - REVOLUTION & LIGHT: THE ROOTS OF HAITIAN ART|
Ramapo College has the largest collection of Haitian art ofany public institution in
the United States. A painting from the Rodman Collection at Ramapo College is on
the cover ofan important new book about Haitian art. International scholars come
to Ramapo College to see the Collection. Sydney Ienkins, Director ofthe Ramapo
College Art Galleries, is a recognized, often quoted expert on Haitian art. Haiti is an
excellent case study to help students see the connections between art, literature,
politics, science, and economics. Our students are in the rare position ofhaving
access to examples ofwork by the most important historical and contemporary
artists representing Haiti.
Africa is the foundation for Haitian art and culture. Haiti is sometimes called the
most African country in the Western Hemisphere. But there is also still a strong
French inﬂuence and strong stench emanating from a series ofoccupations by the
United States and the United Nations. To begin to understand Haiti, one must start
with African geography, history, and complicity in the slave trade. Using essays by
the British anthropologist R.S. Rattray, students will learn especially about the Akan,
the largest tribal group in West Africa, and the Ashanti, its most powerful entity.
Students will learn about the religious rituals, cultural traditions, and artistic styles
ofthe Ashanti kingdom before and during the slave trade.
Students will learn about the French role in Haiti through the book All Souls Rising
by Madison Smartt Bell, the first historical fiction in a trilogy about the Haitian
revolution from shifting perspectives, including French landowners, ordinary slaves,
and the leaders ofthe first successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere.
The turbulent history ofthe nation since its freedom will be told by some ofthe art
in the Rodman Collection, films like Sankofa by Haille Gerima, The Divine
Horsemen by Maya Deren, and Paul Robeson’s Emperor lones.
Finally, student will become intimately familiar with the deeper meanings ofthe
extraordinary art in the Rodman Collection and most will develop an admiration
and appreciation ofSelden Rodman and his major contribution to Ramapo. They
will tour and learn about the collection from Sydney jenkins; meet with visiting
scholars who are at Ramapo to study the Collection; write an essay about the
exhibition; and write a critical analysis of up to three art works oftheir own choice.
These essays will be evaluated based on student's ability to interpret a cultural
product and creative expression using the intersections of issues that impact Haiti's
existence as part ofthe world culture.
0.000 TO 4.000 Credit hours
0.000 TO 4.000 Lecture hours
Gen Ed 2018, Gen Ed 18-Global Awareness
Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels:
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