Religious Architecture: Temples, Tombs, and Meeting Halls

Sub-Saharan Africa has a long history of building monumental sites of religious importance. While history textbooks emphasize iconic works in Egypt and other sites in North Africa, this lecture discusses the rich history of monumental architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Monuments constructed by the great empires of the era of trans-Saharan trade are symbols of power and evidence of the global spread of religions. Particularly important was the influence of Islam and construction of mosques across the continent. Later buildings experimented and contended with transformations occurring due to the Atlantic slave trade and advance of European colonialism. This lecture examines a number of temples, tombs, and meeting halls not as isolated objects, but as products of larger cultural and economic processes.

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