This panel explores change and innovation in masquerade in the 21st century.
Masquerade and masking traditions in Africa have been an iconic subject of African art studies throughout the 20th century and often have served to underline historical continuities with a pre-colonial past. As such they have been located at the centre of social life and action within local communities. This panel explores ongoing innovation and change in masquerade traditions and suggests that taken for granted paradigms as to their contexts of ideas and practices need to be critically reassessed in the shifting circumstance of the 21st century. The rise of Pentecostal Christian and new Islamisation movements have marginalised many masking traditions as bound up with a pagan past. Despite the ending of some traditions of masquerade as a consequence of these religious movements, this displacement has created new and diverse possibilities so that masquerade remains a vital medium of creativity and performance that offers counter-narratives of locality and the translocal. Possibly space for further papers.