Summer Institute for Educators 2020


Voices from the Gold Road: Medieval Ghana, Mali, Songhai

This year, the institute explored places, people, and objects - grand and ordinary - connected to the medieval Trans-Saharan trade, focusing on Medieval Ghana, Mali and Songhai. 

Instruction about medieval Ghana, Mali and Songhai is often limited to discussions about gold for salt, silent barter, trade across the Sahara, Mansa Musa, and the influence of Islam on West Africa. Voices from the Gold Road, a three day summer institute, will reframe this historical period to include the various goods exchanged, monetary-based exchange systems, regional West African trade routes,  the diversity of peoples engaged in trade and West Africa’s impact on Islam.  Additional topics include oral history, Sunjata epics, and introductions to the Songhai and Mande language families. 


Center for African Studies, Howard University
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the African Studies Center
Boston University
Africa Access

DAY 1 Agenda

Songhai Language Family | Aissata Sidikou. Ph. D.
Trans-saharan Trade and African Islam | Khaled Esseissah, Ph. D.
Reframing the approach to teaching medieval Ghana, Mali and Songhai | Barbara Brown, Ph. D.
The Geography of West Africa: Geo Spatial Inquiry through a Historical Lens | Elsa Wiehe, Ed. D.
Let’s Explore the Gold Road Map and Teaching Resources | Brenda Randolph, M.A., M.L.S. and Vanessa Oyugi, Ph. D.

DAY 2 Agenda

Mande language family | Sidiki Traore
Medieval Africa: Roads, Routes as Conduits of Culture | David Conrad, Ph. D.
Elements of Praise Poetry | Lesina Martin
Connecting to the Gold Road | Lesina Martin

DAY 3 Agenda

Songhai Language Family | Aissata Sidikou. Ph. D.
Medieval West African Epics | Aissata Sidikou. Ph. D. and Mbye Cham, Ph.D. 
Myths, Legends, and Lyrics as Pathways to Understanding the African Past, Endogenous Knowledge and Personhood | Jeanne Toungara, Ph.D.
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