Value-Semantic Blocks in Images of African Poetry (in the Context of Historical and Social Changes)


Elena Kharitonova


The article presents an interdisciplinary study at the intersection of culturology and African studies. The author suggests that the formation and transformation of values and meanings in Africa were influenced by specific facts of the history of sub-Saharan Africa. On the one hand, a colossal cultural layer is associated with the colonial past of African countries, with the influence of Western culture and Western values. Colonization of the continent, the struggle for freedom and independence, racial problems have determined the identity of Africans, the specifics of their identification, the need to restore their dignity. On the other hand, there exists a powerful foundation of traditional culture.

The paper analyzes specific African value-semantic blocks associated with the facts of African history. It raises the question about the mission of Africa and the “Black man”, expressed in the value-semantic block “the black man is the savior of faith, the guardian of spirituality and honor” and the question of the unique “cosmogonic” system of representations of the African man, embodied in the value of connection with ancestors, with nature, with the earth and with heaven. Examples of the reflection of a number of value-semantic blocks in the images of African poetry are given.


African studies, Africa, colonialism, African poetry, values, meanings, value-semantic blocks, protest, freedom, identity, mentality, trauma, Afrocentrism, Negritude




1. Arsen’ev V.R. Mental codes and the search for the “imaginary”: temporal and social cycles of the Bambara. (In Russ.). Time and space in archaic and traditional cultures. Moscow. Institute for African studies, RAS, 1996.
2. Bart R. Selected works: Semiotics. Poetics. (In Russ.). Moscow, 1989.
3. Culturology. 20th century. A dictionary. (In Russ.). Saint Petersburg. Universitetskaya kniga, 1997.
4. Davidson A.B. South Africa. The formation of the protest forces (1870–1924). (In Russ.). Moscow. Nauka, 1972.
5. Fituni L.L. Text and meanings: introduction to the hermeneutics of the new world order. (In Russ.). Journal of the Institute for African studies. 2022. № 2 (59). Рр. 5‒16.
6. Girts K. The impact of cultural concept on the concept of man. (In Russ.). Anthology of cultural studies. Interpretation of culture. Moscow–Saint Petersburg, 2006.
7. Haritonova E.V. The value-semantic dimension of cultural interaction. (In Russ.). Contours of the future in context of the global cultural dynamics: 18th International Likhachov Scientific Conference. 17–18 May, 2018. Saint Petersburg. SPbGUP, 2018.