Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
HUM 206
Course Title:
African Art
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Part of three course series. Introduces a variety of art forms from different time periods and geographic areas of the African Continent. Explores how art is influenced by culture, myth, economics, politics, gender, and region. Ability to understand and participate in class discussions required. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

After successful completion of HUM 206 students should be able to:

  • Communicate artistically, orally, and in writing the integration of art in every aspect of the lives of African peoples, and the importance of artistic context.
  • Understand and appreciate the immense diversity of artistic styles and uses throughout the African continent.
  • Demonstrate college-level skills in critical thinking, research, and writing about the art of African peoples and its uses.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The SAC expects that instructors will assess student learning throughout the term using a variety of methods.  The SAC encourages instructors to consider the following in determining the achievement of course outcomes:

  • Thoughtful response writings to artistic examples
  • Periodic individual conferences regarding research
  • Active participation in class discussion about art objects and their significance
  • Completion of midterm and final projects

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Belief systems
  • Everyday objects
  • Community identity
  • Communication
  • Power
  • Outside influences
  • Transformation


  • Art as protection
  • Integration of art into everyday life
  • Art as a sign of group identity
  • Art as intentional communication
  • Art association with power positions
  • Impact of contact with Europeans and others on African art
  • Association of art with liminal states
  • Tourist art, incorporation of images, new materials


  • Funerals, talismans, ritual items
  • Food, clothing, shelter
  • House painting, mural painting, body art
  • Memory boards, linguistic staffs, goldweights, textiles
  • Gold, ritual items, textiles
  • Tourist art, incorporation of images, new materials
  • Initiation, age grade ceremonies, masking and masquerades
  • Impact of contact with Europeans and others on African art


  • Creative thinking
  • Research skills
  • Public presentation
  • Peer evaluation
  • Response writing