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Traditional Society


Traditional Society & Culture in Africa Global History I: Spiconardi Stateless Societies Family organization is central to African society Many families are organized ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Traditional Society

Traditional Society Culture in Africa
  • Global History I Spiconardi

Stateless Societies
  • Family organization is central to African society
  • Many families are organized into groups called
    lineages (clans)
  • Lineages ? people, both living and dead, who are
    descended from a common ancestor
  • Lineages took the place of rulers in many African

Stateless Societies
  • Stateless societies ? cultural groups in which
    authority is shared by lineages of equal power
    instead of being exercised by a central
    government no one executive ruler
  • Community rule over individual rule

Usually the community that made the decisions
consisted of male family heads
(No Transcript)
Stateless Societies
Turn to your partner and create a list of the
positive and negative attributes of a stateless
Traditional Societies Family Descent
  • Matrilineal ? trace ancestors through mothers
  • 20 of African societies are matrilineal today
  • Patrilineal ? trace ancestors through fathers

Traditional Societies Age-Set System
  • Age-Set System ? a cohort of young people within
    a region who are born during a certain period
  • Pass through life stages/rites of passage
  • At each life stage the age group inherits
    different responsibilities
  • Boys and girls are generally separated

Traditional Societies Griots
  • Griot ? keeper of history via oral tradition in
    West Africa
  • Poet, praise singer, musician
  • told tales of births, deaths, marriages, battles,
    hunts, and hundreds of other folklores via song

Traditional Societies Griots
  • Father of the poor peopleHusband of beautiful
    ladiesAt whose absence the city is not
    interestingAt whose absence the people are not
  • Be our motherBe our fatherProvide us with
    clothingBe the salt we need for our gravyBe the
    oil we need for our porridge
  • You are our eyesYou are our mirrorYou are our
    hands and legsThat we use to walk.

Traditional Societies Griots
  • My master has requested that I ask you the exact
    meaning of your name Da. Is it Da Guinea hemp?
    Is it Da clay pot? Is it Da the syphilis? Is
    it Da the mouth? Is it Da the door? Is it Da do
    you sleep there? If you are a pot, Kaarta Tiema
    will break you. If you are Guinea worms he will
    harvest you in order to give you to his fishermen
    who will make nets of you. If you are syphilis,
    he will treat you with a red hot iron. If you
    are a mouth, he will rip you open to your ears.
    If you are a door, he will close you for good
    and you will never serve for any pathway. If you
    are sleeping there, he will stand you up like a
    house at the top of a hill. That's what my
    master put in my mouth with the order to spit
    right into your face.

  • Animism ? the belief that spirits are present in
    natural objects
  • Many Africans believed the spirits of their
    departed ancestors were present on Earth
  • Ancestral spirits would be called upon for help
    in times of need/trouble

What animals is portrayed by the apparel in the
African Animism
  • Islam
  • Spreads throughout North Africa
  • Enters West Africa during the age of the trade
  • West African Islam
  • Many maintained traditional aspects of animistic
  • Women were not veiled interacted with men in
  • Mosques designed in traditional architecture

  1. In what sense were the early societies of
    Sub-Saharan Africa stateless?
  2. They lacked centralized government and tax
  3. They did not have an agriculturally-based economy
  4. There were no cities or large villages where the
    majority of the population lived.
  5. Provincial governors owned the majority of the
    land in their respective territories

  1. The Islamization of sub-Saharan Africa was
    similar to the spreading of Buddhism to Japan in
    that both
  2. led to the creation of a rigid class hierarchy
  3. involved blending with native cultural and
    religious practices
  4. were a result of extensive missionary work
  5. led to tensions between aristocrats and peasants