EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W027)

Indigeneity in western Atlantic intersystems

Location Arts T7
Date and Start Time 26 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Huon Wardle (St. Andrews University) email
Stacy Hope (University of St. Andrews) email
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Long Abstract

This workshop aims to capture ethnographically the problematic of an 'Atlantic' approach to culture and the social. It is directed at researchers whose work is ethnographically focused on the Western Atlantic but whose interpretations necessarily take in Atlantic intersystems more broadly. Arguably the problem of 'indigeneity' in Western Atlantic settings is more urgent but also more paradoxical than in other settings because, for historical reasons, disruption of autochthony and the search for an essence very often go hand in hand. The workshop organisers will seek papers which give an ethnographic accent on indigeneity as a socially complex phenomenon and which provide situationally rich accounts of work around, or negotiations regarding, 'indigeneity'. Accounts that give new accents on the classic themes of economics, religion, kinship and politics in Western Atlantic settings are welcomed.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

'You can't jump from yesterday to tomorrow without going through today': contested notions of essence and identity in the Eastern Caribbean

Author: Mark Powell  email
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Long Abstract

This paper considers notions of indigeneity in an Eastern Caribbean context, notions that link local understandings of belonging to claims of origin in other lands and people of the Atlantic seaboard. These claims are important for understanding individual notions of belonging and the contested ongoing creation of local identity. Drawing on ethnography from the Windward Isles, the paper will question prevailing concepts of indigeneity by examining individuals' oral recollections of kinship and diverging understandings of the past. Narrated personal genealogies appear to be static, but they constantly shift to accommodate and reflect the dynamic quality of everyday social relationships. While local perceptions of indigeneity might appeal to ideas of essence and a static, fixed past, closer examination reveals these ideas to be creative and flexible, prompted by judgements about others in relation to the daily practices of local life.

Exploring indigeneity in a Brazilian favela

Author: Moises Lino e Silva (St Andrews)  email
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Long Abstract

I will explore the importance of the idea of indigeneity in relation to my experience living in one of the largest Brazilian slums (favelas), in Rio de Janeiro. Indigeneity will be taken in relation to "ontological" categories that attempt to give meaning to relationships in a place that gathers people perceived to be as diverse as African slave descendants, migrants from the Brazilian northeast, gringos (often as tourists), and Cariocas. Ethnographic material will be used to argue that the complexities of the relationships established among these varied groups may easily make people acquire a different sort of indigeneity accordingly to contextual changes. The idea of "the indigenous" is central to many concepts encountered during fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro - such as: "cria" of the hillside, "carioca da gema", "paraiba", "matesco", and "cerioca". In the favela scene, however, different encounters may give rise to different indigenous subjects.

In His Majesty's land: the 'place' of Ethiopia in Rastafari worldview

Author: Shelene Gomes (Hawassa University)  email
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Long Abstract

Rastafarians from the Caribbean who moved to Ethiopia forty years ago returned to a primordial home and homeland. In Rastafari worldview Ethiopia is the ancestral land of all Africans who were displaced through the trans-atlantic slave trade, and the spiritual and physical origin of all humankind. Rastafari emerged in early 20th century Jamaica from a historical foundation of colonialism, forced and semi-forced migration to and from the Caribbean, and the creation of plantation societies that coalesced in psychological devaluation, and socio-economic stratification that characterised the colour-class system. These conditions fundamentally shaped Caribbean peoples' ideas regarding personhood, inter-connections with the global and the local, and the expectations and experiences of movement in this heterogeneous region. Based on ethnographic research this paper will examine how the paradoxical claiming and shaping of the Caribbean, Ethiopia and Africa enables repatriates in Shashamane to negotiate the convergence of the symbolic Ethiopia with the state of Ethiopia in which they currently live, and where they grapple with and demand access to land and legal status. This discussion is broadly situated in analyses of place relating to concepts of rootedness, indigeneity, and foreignness.

An Atlantic drum's journey after the slavery from Africa to the Americas and Back: Annobonese and Fernandino musical culture

Author: Isabela de Aranzadi (Grupo MUSYCA - Universidad Complutense de Madrid)  email
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Long Abstract

The musical instruments in Equatorial Guinea are an important part of the culture of its ethnic and social groups: Fang, Bubi, Ndowe, etc. It is in relation to the Annobonese and the Fernandinos that the concept of "Return trip to Africa" becomes meaningful because there are African elements in their music that come back from the American continent to its African origins. Following the abolition of slavery at the turn of the 19th century, African musical culture was enriched by contributions from newly-freed African slaves from the Americas. Musical instruments are an intrinsic part of culture and live material accompanying people in their historical evolution as an essential factor in shaping the identity preserved through memory. Instruments such as cumbé, kunkí, tambalí and dances such as cumbé, kunkí, bönkó, mamahê and maringa, constitute an African legacy that has returned from America, a 'return to Africa' within Equatorial Guinea's musical culture.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.