African Literature, Visual Arts, and Performance

African Literature, Visual Arts, and Performance
Why do people dance, weave, make films, sing, write poetry? How do these forms of expressive culture link people together, transmit memory through generations, imagine new worlds, revisit history, or respond to and shape political and economic pressures? This 12-credit certificate will provide students with an opportunity to engage with these enduring questions through African literature, visual arts, and performance. Through courses that introduce them to an inclusive array of African artistic and expressive practices, students will gain fluency in the cultural and creative diversity of African and Afro-diasporic peoples. Students will receive training in critical theory that prepares them to understand and interpret forms of expressive culture in African contexts and through African knowledge systems. They will learn to analyze the complex interrelations of local and global audiences, networks, and traditions in both formal artistic practice and vernacular art forms in their material, immaterial, and embodied expressions. Students may choose to focus on an area of study (e.g. performance) or to pursue an interdisciplinary selection of courses.
Degree Types: Certificate

About the Program

You might like this program if…

  • You want to gain a broad understanding of historical and contemporary African innovations in cinema, literature, performance, music, and visual arts.
  • You want to develop critical thinking skills for analyzing and interpreting a variety of artistic media or practices through a perspective informed by African history and culture.
  • You’re interested in the complex interactions between local and global, historical and contemporary, political and economic influences on African creative expression.
  • You want to gain hands-on experience in field research or artistic practice through study abroad opportunities.
  • You’re interested in a career in the arts or in foundations, museums, educational institutions or other non-profits that support research in or teach cultural diversity and the arts.


  • African Cinema
  • African Art
  • African Literature
  • African Dance and Culture
  • Contemporary Africa

Have questions about this program?

This program is housed 

in the African Studies program 
at Penn State University Park.
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