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UA / African Studies / AFAS 160 / What is agriculture?

What is agriculture?

What is agriculture?


School: University of Arizona
Department: African Studies
Course: The Africana Experience
Professor: Professor abana
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: AFAS, Africana, Yuxuf, and Abana
Cost: 50
Name: Quiz 1 (September 10)
Description: The list of terms we were given to study with my notes from class and the reading. It's missing whatever content may be in Tuesday's lecture, but has info from the class notes and previous lectures.
Uploaded: 09/08/2015
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AFAS 160 - The Africana Experience

What is agriculture?

Study Guide for Quiz 1 (September 10)


Humid tropical climatological zone- (RAINFALL: greater than 2,000 mm or 80 in.)  rain is almost year-round. The dry season, if any, lasts less than two months

Sub-humid tropical climatological zone- (RAINFALL: 1,000-2,000 mm or 40-80  in.) rainy season lasts between 6 to 10 months

Semi-arid tropical climatological zone- (RAINFALL: 200-1,000 mm or 8-40 in.)  rainy season lasts between 3 to 6 months

Arid tropical climatological zone- (RAINFALL: less than 200 mm or 8 in.) very  short or no rainy season, driest parts could go years without rain.

Foraging- to search for food or provisions

Foragers are referred to commonly as hunter-gatherers. They’ve existed in all  areas since very early times. They move, following the best game or conditions,  and often remain as small travelling groups. Though they’re thought to have not  affected the landscape much, since they didn’t settle for long, they have been  known to alter their environments dramatically by burning areas to drive game or  destroying and preserving undesired or desired plant life. The strategy of  foraging gradually declined to be very low today. Many of those who relied  primarily on foraging tactics didn’t survive the developmental turn of the current  century.

What is foraging?

Herding- keeping or looking after livestock

Herding is believed to come about around 7,000 years ago in North Africa. These  societies domesticate animals (cattle, camels, goats, sheep, etc.). It’s most  common in the savannas where the animals have grass to graze. It’s not likely in

forests. These small communities are still present, though declining, and they  migrate cyclically to the best areas for water and raising livestock. They have  altered the landscape mostly by transferring of species to areas which they are  not indigenous and allowing their animals to overgraze the land.  If you want to learn more check out What does Weber’s law tell us about the difference threshold?

Agriculture- practice of farming, which includes cultivating soil for crop-growing  and animal-rearing

Agriculture has been one of Africa’s most important production modes for  thousands of years. The way of life spread gradually, allowing those who had it to  develop larger settlements. It was most common on savannas for the fertility of  the land. The main crops were grains (millet, sorghum, maize) which become  staples in cultural foods. Agriculture caused a decline in variety of plant life, as  the inhabitants focused on growing more of what they would use. In the rain  forests , tree crops and root crops are common (yams, plantains, cassava), but don’t support large communities since crops are more cyclical. Coastal areas  support fishing and trade developments. Colonialism (18-19 cent.) imposed new  export crops (cocoa, coffee, tea, peanuts, tobacco, cotton, sisal, rubber, palm oil)  to the land. Over time, many rural people have moved into the cities. The  agricultural economy is keeping up, but Africa is just as much a part of global  trade as any other country.

What is herding?

Don't forget about the age old question of Domestic situation comedy refers to what?

Patrilineal kinship- tracing descent through the father, men in the family Children of brothers consider themselves siblings, and consider the father’s  siblings parents as well. The connections remain closer than the way we  recognize family in European standards. Adoption is not common but fostering is,  even without the case of an emergency.

Majority of African societies were patrilineal. Many have shifted from matrilineal  through Islamization.  

Matrilineal kinship- tracing descent through the mother, women in the family

Significant numbers of groups maintained matrilineal ways. Higher status groups  within societies tend to retain more elements.

Intergenerational relations- connections and interactions between people of  different age groups

Historically, the elders maintained authority, but we’ve seen more recently the  reversal of authority in intergenerational relations. Young men gain respect by  demonstrating financial ability. Children are often needed to provide for the family  and the social dynamic changes. Young women have frequently found financial  stability through the exploitation of “sugar daddies.”  

Non-kin forms of community- ties created between people who weren’t  connected by blood, but treated like family If you want to learn more check out what is Geography?

These bonds were often forged in close friendships from childhood. It was also  common among age-mates undergoing circumcision together, as the process  brought them together. Scholars call initiation societies “secret societies” as they  create special bonds between its members. People who share professions have  also created communities as they were often close-knit since crafts were passed  down through families.  

Child-headed households

As children find the ability to earn and control money, the dynamic with parents is  changing. Children who can find work are able to support the family see  changing relationships with the elders who were once authority figures.  


Herodotus- Greek historian who gave account of sea journey made by  Phoenicians in fifth century BCE. The journey was ordered by King Necho II of  Egypt around Africa, though Herodotus referred to the landmass as “Libya.” The  account is taken from The Histories, assumed to be written around 425 BCE.

Though Herodotus’ report is secondhand knowledge, from legend, it is believed  to be accountable because it discusses the position of the sun correctly.  

Abu Abdullah Muhhammed (Ibn Battuta)- well-known popular fourteenth century  Moroccan adventurer, wrote in Arabic about travels, gave an account (from  Travels in Asia and Africa 1325- 1354) of Africa around the Egyptian Nile’s  behavior and how the people in the area adapted to the rise and fall of the waters If you want to learn more check out What are the effects of cigarettes?

Sundiata- (1235-1255) D. T. Niane transcribed oral stories in Sundiata: An Epic  of Old Mali. Legend says he was born without using his legs but “miraculously”  began to walk at 7 years old. He became a prince of Keita clan to develop  connections with Malinke mansas and defeat an evil Sosso kind, Sumanguru in  1235. He expanded the empire through conquest.  

Mansa Musa- (1312-1337) one of Sundiata’s most famous descendants and  brother to Mansa Sulayman (1341-1360), maintained Mali’s imperial authority  and encouraged trade and education, encouraged growth of Islam as imperial  religion, recognized as Islamic caliph of West Africa during hajj to Mecca (1324- 1325), had Sudanese Islamic scholars trained in the Maghreb, recruited teachers  from Cairo to work with Muslim students in West African centers of scholarship

Askia Muhammed Toure (Askia the Great)- (1493-1528 “golden age”) Soninke by  birth, successor and army general (or askia) of emperor Sunni Ali (1464-1492) who founded Songhay, hajj to Mecca (1496) and waged jihad upon return, caliph  of West Africa, made Songhay one of the largest multinational empires, reformed  government to merit system, became blind 1528, Songhay declined after rule Many respected scholars taught at Sankore (Timbuktu)  

Leo Africanus (papal emissary) wrote many professionals worked and  lived in Timbuktu and wrote famous, expensive manuscripts and books


“The Scramble for Africa” (c. 1800-1900) We also discuss several other topics like What is magnetic force?

During the period of New Imperialism, European powers invaded, occupied,  colonized, and annexed African territory. The intervention interrupted the steady  progress Africa was making in developing large political economies. European  rule put Africa in the hands of distant foreigners who disregarded their way of life.  Any structures that had been created at local levels of Africa were lost for the  time, but are likely important now in re-forming an independent Africa. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the Right to Counsel?

“The Social Mirror”  

The social mirror is a theory that we perceive ourselves based on how others  judge us. It represents how others see us. When we look at ourselves in an  actual mirror, we see ourselves based on our own perceptions and senses. The  social mirror represents a metaphorical looking glass where we can find how  others see us. A lot of social interaction has to do with judgment, regardless if it’s  wanted or not. The social mirror frames social relations. It has a lot to do with  how we create our own identity and how we interact with (or don’t) others.  

“Critical Thinking” – the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to  form a judgement

In class, we discussed the importance of critical thinking. Professor Abana  discussed how we’ll come across and be revealed to many issues in this class.  We should inquire and be open to new ideas in order to see arguments from  many sides and create our own judgements.


This is the idea that people who descended from African cultures should be  unified because of common interests. It’s often seen in political and cultural  movements.  

“Marriage” – formally recognized union

It is the primary way to expand kinship and reproduce. In many cases, a goal of  marriage is to reproduce in order to continue blood lines or provide social  security as parents grow old. It can also be used strategically to form alliances to  others in high social standing.


In African cultures, it’s more important to maintain consanguinity and affinity. For  this reason, marriages are often arranged between relatives to re-establish these  ties. Marriage is used as a tool to expand social networks for protection and  need.  

“Africa as a force in globalization”  

Africa has been important in the global landscape since as far back as we can  see. Science has traced all of our origins back to that continent. Early trade with  Asia and Europe is seen in the history of specific goods and the spread of  cultural signs. Though the development of societies and governments was  stunted by the scramble for Africa, the interaction between Africa and the rest of  the world has and continues to become more involved in international relations.

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