Performing Africa / Edition 1

Performing Africa / Edition 1

by Paulla A. Ebron
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691074895

ISBN-13: 9780691074894

Pub. Date: 08/05/2002

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The jali—a member of a hereditary group of Mandinka professional performers—is a charismatic but contradictory figure. He is at once the repository of his people's history, the voice of contemporary political authority, the inspiration for African American dreams of an African homeland, and the chief entertainment for the burgeoning transnational

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Overview

The jali—a member of a hereditary group of Mandinka professional performers—is a charismatic but contradictory figure. He is at once the repository of his people's history, the voice of contemporary political authority, the inspiration for African American dreams of an African homeland, and the chief entertainment for the burgeoning transnational tourist industry. Numerous journalists, scholars, politicians, and culture aficionados have tried to pin him down. This book shows how the jali's talents at performance make him a genius at representation—the ideal figure to tell us about the "Africa" that the world imagines, which is always a thing of illusion, magic, and contradiction.

Africa often enters the global imagination through news accounts of ethnic war, famine, and despotic political regimes. Those interested in countering such dystopic images—be they cultural nationalists in the African diaspora or connoisseurs of "global culture"—often found their representations of an emancipatory Africa on an enthusiasm for West African popular culture and performance arts. Based on extensive field research in The Gambia and focusing on the figure of the jali, Performing Africa interrogates these representations together with their cultural and political implications. It explores how Africa is produced, circulated, and consumed through performance and how encounters through performance create the place of Africa in the world. Innovative and discerning, Performing Africa is a provocative contribution to debates over cultural nationalism and the construction of identity and history in Africa and elsewhere.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691074894
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/05/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

OVERTURE

Where and When I Enter vii

INTRODUCTION

Performing Africa 1

PART ONE

Representations/Performances 29

CHAPTER ONE

Music: Europe and Africa 33

CHAPTER TWO

Performances 53

PART TWO

Professional Dreams 73

CHAPTER THREE

Curators of Tradition 81

CHAPTER FOUR

Personalistic Economy 114

CHAPTER FIVE

Interview Encounters: The Performance of Profession 134

PART THREE

Culture as Commodity 163

CHAPTER SIX

Travel Stories 167

CHAPTER SEVEN

Tourists as Pilgrims 189

CODA 213

NOTES 217

BIBLIOGRAPHY 225

INDEX 237

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