Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. 6-7

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

No project of this scale is possible without the support of an incredible number of people, including friends, mentors, colleagues, and family. Such support has enabled me to research Kongo graphic expression as a form of communication in Africa and across the Atlantic, and then to bring ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-13

Kongo Graphic Writing is a study of structured visual expression among the Bakongo people in Central Africa and their descendants in Cuba. The book is built around the central argument that multiple, varied communication tools, including written symbols, religious objects, oral traditions, and body language, have consistently been integrated by the Bakongo into structured ...

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2. The Atlantic Passage: The Spread of Kongo Belief in Africa and to the Americas

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pp. 15-27

The Bakongo people are found today in northern Angola, southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. A subset of broader Bantu culture that today stretches across much of eastern, central, and southern Africa, the Bakongo first settled in Central Africa as a result of larger migrations across the continent. It is generally be-...

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3. The Process of Meaning Making: The Kongo Universe

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pp. 29-45

Complex belief systems are used across cultures to help individuals and communities identify themselves and understand their place in the world. While varied in their substances and outward expression, such systems serve a similar purpose in that they create a narrative through which culture is formed and transmitted to later generations. This narrative engenders a ...

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4. Afro-Atlantic Graphic Writing: Bidimbu, Bisinsu, and Firmas

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pp. 47-147

The term graphic writing systems can be credited to Gerhard Kubik. Building on existing scholarly work on particular writing traditions that facilitated an awareness of graphic expression in Africa,1 Kubik was the first scholar to study and explain in systematic terms graphic writing traditions.2 He argued that graphic writing must be understood as a “visual ...

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5. Beyond the Scripture: Physical Forms of Graphic Writing

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pp. 149-189

Although scholars have traditionally conceptualized graphic writing only in two-dimensional form, Kongo graphic communication is better under-stood as involving a wider range of forms, some two-dimensional, but others multi- or nondimensional. These varied types of communicative devices are bound together in a structured, consistent way in Bakongo culture and ...

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6. Conclusion

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pp. 191-192

Intended to encapsulate my work on visual practices in Central Africa and the Kongo diaspora in Cuba, Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign has explored the extensive range of visual communication forms documented across Bakongo and Bakongo-descended communities in Central Africa and Cuba and demonstrated the systematic usage of such ...

Notes

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pp. 193-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-219

Index

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pp. 221-228