20 episodes

The aim of the Country Study program is, over the course of a full academic year, to take a wide-ranging look at a specific country or region under study from its earliest history right up to current events. It is our belief that in order to understand and appreciate other countries and cultures, one needs to employ a broad lens and engage the "other" on a myriad of levels. The program allows faculty and student participants, and community guests to break down stereotypes and connect across cultures. The Year of Country Study program uses a multidisciplinary approach in order to provide our audiences with a richer, more complex sense of place and community.

Year of Ghana Lecture Series (2012-2013) Kennesaw State University

    • Education

The aim of the Country Study program is, over the course of a full academic year, to take a wide-ranging look at a specific country or region under study from its earliest history right up to current events. It is our belief that in order to understand and appreciate other countries and cultures, one needs to employ a broad lens and engage the "other" on a myriad of levels. The program allows faculty and student participants, and community guests to break down stereotypes and connect across cultures. The Year of Country Study program uses a multidisciplinary approach in order to provide our audiences with a richer, more complex sense of place and community.

    • video
    Ghana's Physical and Cultural Geography

    Ghana's Physical and Cultural Geography

    From its 334 miles of coastline, to its interior forests, famous man-made lake, and northern savannah, Ghana is home to a number of diverse cultures, wildlife, landscapes, and natural resources. A shining example to other countries in the region due to its relative prosperity and stability, Ghana is moving towards modernity while currently maintaining much of its unique culture and traditions. However, Ghana struggles with many of the problems afflicting developing countries: including environmental destruction, poverty, and insufficient infrastructure and services. This talk establishes the unique physical and cultural geography setting for KSU’s Year of Ghana, highlighting some of Ghana’s outstanding qualities and current challenges.

    Originally, from Trinidad, Dr. Slinger-Friedman obtained her M.A. in Latin American Studies and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Florida. Her work has included a World Bank sponsored study in Mexico and El Salvador of Vetiver grass technology for soil erosion control, the use of an agroforestry system for Amazonian urban resettlement in Acre, Brazil, and the use of ecotourism in both Latin America and Africa (specifically Ghana) for economic development and nature preservation. Currently, Dr. Slinger-Friedman has a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean and the SE United States, where she researches ecotourism and the impact of Latino immigration respectively. Her recent research interests also include innovative pedagogy in geography.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    • video
    Part One: Where There is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement

    Part One: Where There is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement

    This presentation interrogates the idea of complete silence on the part of Africans as articulated in the literature on enslavement. The purpose is to share some of the ways in which Africans on the continent responded to the unending subject of the trade in enslaved Africans. The basic premise is that silence is both unnatural and impossible as a response to such a prolonged and devastating phenomenon. In support of this hypothesis, the discussion shares many types of evidence that refute the theory of silence. It begins by an examination of the common aspects of the physical structure of the slave castles. It continues by focusing on two sites, out of many: Ganvie in present day Republic of Benin and Nzulezo, in Ghana. Both have been chosen because they are unique settlements on water, offering ways in which the natural environment was employed in the aid of self-preservation and later to serve as a means of remembrance. The settlements came about because humans decided to do what all humans will do: defend themselves against attack.

    Opoku-Agyemang, who earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from York University in Toronto, Canada, has chaired or served on 20 national boards in Ghana. She also served on the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The author of nine books and numerous articles and papers, her research interests include literature by African women, Ghana’s oral literature, and issues related to the trade in enslaved Africans. In 2006, she addressed the United Nations General Assembly during events marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

    During her visit to Kennesaw State, Vice Chancellor Opoku-Agymeng was accompanied by Isaac R. Amuah, director of the UCC’s Center for International Education; Isaac Ohene, university registrar, and assistant registrar, Alberta Yaa Graham; Juliana Boateng, distance education and Elaine Kwani.

    The delegation visited a class on the history of Ghana; met with representatives of the Center for Student Leadership, the Center for Conflict Management, the Ph.D. program in International Conflict Management and the Bagwell College student teaching abroad program. They also participated in workshops on teaching in Africa and attended sessions with Kennesaw State’s Ghanaian students and students who have studied abroad in Ghana.

    • 29 min
    • video
    Part Two: Where There is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement

    Part Two: Where There is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement

    This presentation interrogates the idea of complete silence on the part of Africans as articulated in the literature on enslavement. The purpose is to share some of the ways in which Africans on the continent responded to the unending subject of the trade in enslaved Africans. The basic premise is that silence is both unnatural and impossible as a response to such a prolonged and devastating phenomenon. In support of this hypothesis, the discussion shares many types of evidence that refute the theory of silence. It begins by an examination of the common aspects of the physical structure of the slave castles. It continues by focusing on two sites, out of many: Ganvie in present day Republic of Benin and Nzulezo, in Ghana. Both have been chosen because they are unique settlements on water, offering ways in which the natural environment was employed in the aid of self-preservation and later to serve as a means of remembrance. The settlements came about because humans decided to do what all humans will do: defend themselves against attack.

    Opoku-Agyemang, who earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from York University in Toronto, Canada, has chaired or served on 20 national boards in Ghana. She also served on the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The author of nine book and numerous articles and papers, her research interests include literature by African women, Ghana’s oral literature, and issues related to the trade in enslaved Africans. In 2006, she addressed the United Nations General Assembly during events marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

    During her visit to Kennesaw State, Vice Chancellor Opoku-Agymeng was accompanied by Isaac R. Amuah, director of the UCC’s Center for International Education; Isaac Ohene, university registrar, and assistant registrar, Alberta Yaa Graham; Juliana Boateng, distance education and Elaine Kwani.

    The delegation visited a class on the history of Ghana; met with representatives of the Center for Student Leadership, the Center for Conflict Management, the Ph.D. program in International Conflict Management and the Bagwell College student teaching abroad program. They also participated in workshops on teaching in Africa and attended sessions with Kennesaw State’s Ghanaian students and students who have studied abroad in Ghana.

    • 28 min
    • video
    Early Atlantic Trade with West Africa: Nautical Archaeological Research off Elmina, Ghana

    Early Atlantic Trade with West Africa: Nautical Archaeological Research off Elmina, Ghana

    As one of the most important entrepôts in the region, Elmina was a key trading port from its construction in 1482 by the Portuguese, its takeover by the Dutch in 1637, and its ceding to the British in 1872. Coastal trading forts such as Sao Jorge da Mina served as hubs of early contact between Africans and Europeans, and as such provide a fascinating opportunity to study the material remains resulting from these interactions. With funding from the National Geographic Society, Greg Cook conducted a sonar survey off of Elmina, Ghana, which resulted in the discovery of a mid-seventeenth century shipwreck, likely the Dutch West India Company ship Groeningen, which sank in 1647 when a cannon exploded while the ship was at anchor. After four seasons of excavation and study conducted by Cook and colleagues at Syracuse University, an assemblage of artifacts involved in the West African trade including glass beads, brass manillas, and a variety of brass and pewter basins, has been recovered. These tangible remains of trade commodities, rarely preserved on land excavations, serve as mute testimony to the complexities of the West African trade. These remains also speak to the agency of coastal African merchants who drove the demand in trade for such commodities. Greg will situate his discussion within this exchange between European ships and African merchants, examining how the commodity trade mediated this contact of cultures for over four centuries.

    • 59 min
    • video
    Ghana as we Know It - Study Abroad & Ghana Student Panel

    Ghana as we Know It - Study Abroad & Ghana Student Panel

    Student Panel of Ghanaian students and returned study abroad in Ghana students reflect on their experiences in Ghana.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    • video
    What Ghanaian Personal and Cloth Names Tell Us about Ghanaian Culture

    What Ghanaian Personal and Cloth Names Tell Us about Ghanaian Culture

    The object of this lecture is to demonstrate that Ghanaian anthroponymy and cloth names are important channels for ‘speaking’ for and about Ghanaian society. With respect to anthroponyms, I, Samuel Obeng, argue that unlike in Western societies where children usually take their father’s last name, in African societies, children have their own names. Names are used to achieve a number of communicative and socio-political goals and events such as: showing human relationships and social roles; revealing Ghanaians’ quest for truth and meaning in life; showing the polarity in human behavior; pointing to the society’s hopes, dreams and aspirations; and showing the Ghanaian perception of cosmic elements.

    Names may reflect the geographical environment (hydronyms, toponyms, vegetation, agricultural activity, wildlife, as well as the physical and geomorphologic phenomena) of the one’s birthplace. The circumstances surrounding one’s birth such as the day of the week, time of day, the order of birth, political or religious significance of the birth date, the season of the year, and even the attitude of the parents at the time of birth may be caught up Ghanaian onomasiology. The specific circumstances relating to a family as well as the gender of a child all play significant roles in the naming process. Some names are based on human behavior, occupation, and the name recipient’s physical characteristics. Others are derived from epic sources and may be theophoric because they reveal attributes and epithets of gods and goddesses.

    Names in Ghanaian society are perceived as important indicators of expectations and of the bearers’ behavior and may act as pointers to the name-bearers’ past, present, and future accomplishments. They reveal entire ethnic group’s experiences, and construct the name-bearer since they have the power to create an attitude in those who hear it even before they meet the name-bearer.

    Finally, there is a great deal of intertextualization and indirectness in Ghanaian onomasiology. The names’ inter-text, abstractness and indirectness respond to face-threatening acts, immunize the name-givers against any form of attacks (verbal or physical), and help avoid direct confrontation. Indirect and abstract names tend to be proverbial and are conventionalized because the public is aware of their pragmatic import. Given the acceptance of oblique communication in Ghanaian society, expressing one’s feeling via obscurity is not considered artificial or insincere.

    In sum, Ghanaian names are context-sensitive, anchored in a socio-cultural discourse, and are impossible to interpret without reference to, and an understanding of, the overall context of the situation.

    Samuel Obeng, is Professor of Linguistics and the Director of Indiana University’s African Studies Program. He obtained his PhD in Language and Linguistic Science (phonetics and pragmatics) at the University of York in England (United Kingdom). His research interests are in pragmatics and institutional discourse analysis, socio-phonetics and phonology, and the documentation of African languages, especially those that are endangered. He has published 25 books and edited volumes and over one hundred (100) papers in refereed journals.

    • 1 hr 7 min

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