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September 18 Africa.pdf

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New College
Thomas Tieku

th September  18 :  Africa     Lecture 2: Africa Africa Question: What is Africa? • Diverse – in terms of its people and its environment/land • Has some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world • Culturally complex – different ethnicities/identities • There are also ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians, ethnic Europeans • The typical idea of Africa is a construction of European scholars and “Hollywood” • Europeans forced some African communities to “modernize” (Enlightenment) • Africa has been conceptualized in 4 ways 1. To think of Africa as a biological construct • Blacks separate from the rest of the world 2. To think about Africa as an image or a marginal space • That it exists in our mind, a place that is being constructed • People want to have a certain view of Africa and they try to construct this 3. “Memory Africa” – a space that reminds us of a specific historical development • How historians and African Americans who were uprooted from the continent may “remember” the continent 4. Physical/Geographical Space • The idea of Africa as a poverty-stricken area is imp./useful to many 1. Idea created by Euro. Missionaries that needed to create the idea that Africans had nothing, in order to assert this new god onto them 2. Some institutions who rely on this idea to remain profitable 3. Also used as a political strategy 4. African elite also have use for this idea, requesting more money to help the poor, when in reality they want to increase there own wealth • Social Construct; o The name Africa has multiple connotations o It is an idea o The ideas are a construct of agreement between people o Ideas about it have evolved o May or not be true o 1 Billion people living there o It may or may not be true o It’s a agreement by those there • “Social Construct” – characteristics we apply to Africa as a whole, the “idea” we create o Eg. The characteristics/”idea” between genders o The understanding of Africa will be diff. to diff. people • The Names of Africa o Africa th th § Africa is 18 / 19 invention or social construct § The Romans are credited for coning the wo
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