Study African Arts and Culture in Ghana

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Revision as of 21:04, 21 September 2009 by Michaelf (talk | contribs) (2010 program and application procedures...)
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Please note: this page will be continually updated with the latest information about the Ghana program.


Happy Ghana Independence Day! (March 6th) [1][2]

General information

This 9 credit summer program, entitled "West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture", comprises social science, humanities, and performing arts components, and is formally equivalent to three semester-long University of Alberta courses, available at both undergraduate and graduate levels:

  • West African Music Ensemble (Music 144/244, 544). A practicum developing basic skills required for performance and understanding of traditional Ghanaian music, song, and dance, including music of the Ga, Asanti, and other groups, but with a special focus upon Ewe music traditions of the Volta Region. Includes study on the University of Ghana campus, and in a traditional Ewe village. Note: if you require non-junior credit you can substitute 244 for 144.
  • Introduction to Ethnomusicology: The ethnomusicology of Ghanaian music and dance (Music 365, 565) Scholarly study of traditional and popular performance of Ghana, treating the form and meaning of traditional music and dance in cultural contexts, linking music and social identity, and reading Ghanaian culture, politics, history, and religion through music. The music, culture, society, and history of the Ewes will be included, so as to harmonize with the other two courses. The course culminates with the practical experience of doing ethnomusicology in Dagbamete.
  • West African culture, language, and society (Middle Eastern and African Studies 300, 500). This course comprises a multidisciplinary investigation of West African culture (possibly including study of literature, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, history, political science, religious studies, or other disciplines), plus a practical introduction to the Ewe language, in conversation and through its oral literary tradition.

Music and dance performance is central, but no musical experience or talent is required to succeed (only a willingness to try!), and there are no prerequisites for any of the three courses. In past years, Optional long-weekend field trips provided additional musical-cultural perspectives; this year we'll roll many of these trips into a single continuous week of travel, including on our tour Cape Coast, Elmina, Kakum, Kumasi, and Tamale, and perhaps reaching Mole National Park where it is possible to see the greatest assortment of wildlife.

We'll be studying primarily in Legon (a suburb of Accra, where the University of Ghana is located, where the rolling hills begin - a bit cooler here) and Dagbamete, and will visit other places on optional fieldtrips.

Here's a map on which you can find many of the places we'll visit: Legon, Accra, Kokrobite, Cape Coast, Kakum, Kumasi, Tamle (in the north). Kokrobite is around 80 kilos west of Accra. Elmina and Kakum are short drives from Cape Coast. In the Volta Region: Akatsi (a few kilos from our village, Dagbamete), and Ho, the capital of the Volta Region.


For a multimedia introduction to this program, please download this descriptive powerpoint presentation (along with this audio file)


Here's a testimonial from a 2008 summer student enrolled in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Nursing.

To communicate with past or prospective participants, join our Facebook group

2010 program and application procedures...

...are not yet available. But you can read the materials posted for 2009 to get an idea about how the program runs, and stay tuned, or email me. We'll schedule some information sessions this fall. Dates should be more or less the same as for 2009, starting in early July, and ending by mid August.

Please note that the program is now available for graduate credit: Music 544 (West African Music Ensemble), Music 565 (Area Studies in Ethnomusicology), MEAS 500 (Topic in Middle Eastern and African Studies). The latter two courses emphasize advanced, critical reading, independent field research, and ethnomusicological analysis and writing. Students pursuing an MA in ethnomusicology could use these courses to develop a corpus of research and knowledge sufficient for the preparation of an MA thesis, or simply to develop a secondary area of ethnomusicological expertise.


Non-University of Alberta students are responsible for ensuring that credit transfers to their home institution and program, and must enroll in University of Alberta open studies prior to enrollment in the program.

2009 program and application procedures

Schedule

Please note that the dates previously posted here were erroneous due to an excel bug - please note correct dates below!

Following your arrival in Ghana by Thursday July 2, the 2009 program will commence on Friday July 3, lasting a total of 33 days until its conclusion on August 3 (departure August 4), including 3 days of orientation (July 3-5), 8 days of classroom lectures (July 6-9, July 13-16), 12 days of travel throughout Ghana (July 10-12, July 17-24), and 10 days' residence in a small Ewe-speaking Ghanaian village (Dagbamete), located in Ghana's Volta Region, for field study and musical/linguistic/cultural immersion (July 25-Aug 3). Unless you've made other arrangements, you'll be leaving Dagbamete on August 4th, and can catch a flight in the afternoon or evening on that day if you wish. It's also possible to arrange to stay in Dagbamete longer, or to spend time touring elsewhere in Ghana if you wish. But please do not plan to leave Ghana before August 4th.

The Ghana portion of the program will be shorter in 2009 than in 2008, but will provide the same number of credits. You are welcome to plan your trip as you like, arriving before the program begins, or remaining in Ghana afterward, in order to extend your stay. Because the Ghana portion is shorter, I will assign some readings for you to complete before your arrival in Ghana. Feel free to do these assignments at any time before the program commences.

Click here for 2009 schedule

Preparation for Ghana

Here are some guidelines and lists to help you prepare for travel.

Unless you're bringing a computer or e-reader, you should print out online reading assignments prior to departure.

2009 program syllabi

Here are the syllabi.

Because the Ghana portion of the program is shorter than last year, you will be expected to complete a number of reading assignments prior to travel. Please take note of readings on the syllabi that you should complete before the program begins, namely:

You will prepare final papers after returning from Ghana - papers will be due at the end of August.

For now, please learn to locate all the countries of Africa and their capitals using this interactive map quiz for countries, and this one for capitals.

Costs and scholarships

Ghana program costs in 2009


Scholarships are available!

Fifteen $1,000 scholarship awards are available to early applicants from Canada, with priority to UofA students. Ready to apply? Complete the application. (Note: the application says these grants are only for UofA students, but in fact you can obtain a scholarship even if you're not a UofA student. It's just that UofA students have priority.)

$2,250 scholarships are available for International students (including students from the USA).

Deadlines

Application deadlines:

  • Scholarship application: March 16th, 2009
  • General application: March 16th, 2009

Past programs

Those considering attending in 2010 might like to examine the 2009 program material (above) and the detailed 2008 program, including course hours and schedule.

Our 2008 and 2009 groups carried out original field research in a Ghanaian village. Read the results of our study here: Music and change in Dagbamete

Student blogs from 2009:

Jill

Ellis

Andrea


Browse photos from previous programs here:

Experiencing Ghana, summer 2007

Experiencing Ghana, summer 2008

Ghana program costs in 2008

Research in Ghana

Our summer program includes original field research in a Ghanaian village. Read the results of our study here: Musical Change in Dagbamete


Need more information?

Regarding application procedures please contact Caroline Lawson, Study Abroad Student Advisor, University of Alberta International, Education Abroad Program, 8920 HUB Mall, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2E1 Tel: 780 492 6215 Fax: 780 492 6213 www.international.ualberta.ca

You may also contact Professor Michael Frishkopf for further information about the program itself.


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