Persons of Courage and Renown: Tuareg Actors, Acting, Plays, and Cultural Memory in Northern Mali

Persons of Courage and Renown: Tuareg Actors, Acting, Plays, and Cultural Memory in Northern Mali

by Susan Rasmussen


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Persons of Courage and Renown is a theoretically engaged ethnography by a social/cultural anthropologist that explores issues of culture, memory, creativity, and power by analyzing beloved, yet vulnerable, actors, acting, and play performances in Tamajaq-speaking, predominantly Muslim, traditionally stratified, and semi-nomadic Tuareg communities in northern Mali. The town and region of Kidal are the primary sites of field research. This book traces how Tuareg actors powerfully negotiate cultural memory and encounters in communities caught, between political violence and peacekeeping efforts in northern Mali. Urban, state, and nongovernmental bureaucracies there seek to reshape Tuareg verbal art performances to comply with official agendas aimed at transforming local culture. This book shows how acting and plays are crucial in continuing, but also debating and redefining, the meanings of older verbal art performances of Tuareg tales, songs, and epics, as well as wider cultural knowledge and social practice. Their arts offer important possibilities for peacemaking in a turbulent and unpredictable world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498582575
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Pages: 234
Product dimensions: 6.28(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Susan Rasmussen is professor of anthropology in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 General Background on the Tuareg, the Kel Adagh, and the Town and Region of Kidal
Chapter 2 Situating Acting and Creativity in Culture, Place, and Memory
Chapter 3 The Poetics and Politics of Aesthetic Style and Genre and The Ibaraden Actors
Chapter 4 Acting and Cultural Translation: Actors and Audiences as Interpreters and Mediators in Reformulating “Traditional” and “Modern”
Chapter 5 Rural-Urban and Nomadic-Sedentarized Encounters
Chapter 6 Disputed Gender, Relations Between the Sexes, and Embodied Performance
Chapter 7 Youths and Elders: Resistance and Healing in Intergenerational Ambivalence
Chapter 8 Religious Reflections and Social Dissonance
Conclusions Nostalgic Yearning and Cultural Critique

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