The African Cultural Astronomy Project

Urama, Johnson O. and Holbrook, Jarita C. (2011) The African Cultural Astronomy Project. In: The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture. Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 260, 2009. International Astronomical Union, pp. 48-53.


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Indigenous, endogenous, traditional, or cultural astronomy focuses on the many ways that people and cultures interact with celestial bodies. In most parts of Africa, there is very little or no awareness about modern astronomy. However, like ancient people everywhere, Africans wondered at the sky and struggled to make sense of it. The African Cultural Astronomy Project aims to unearth the body of traditional knowledge of astronomy possessed by peoples of the different ethnic groups in Africa and to consider scientific interpretations when appropriate for cosmogonies and ancient astronomical practices. Regardless of scientific validity, every scientist can relate to the process of making observations and creating theoretical mechanisms for explaining what is observed. Through linking the traditional and the scientific, it is believed that this would be used to create awareness and interest in astronomy in most parts of Africa. This paper discusses the vision, challenges and prospects of the African Cultural Astronomy Project in her quest to popularize astronomy in Africa.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Dr Michael Fitzgerald
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 11:03
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:26

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