The workshop addresses the politico-cultural context of public celebrations in Sub-Saharan Africa. We propose to explore the various practices, performances, meanings and representations related to these modern political rituals employing both a diachronic and comparative perspective.
The workshop addresses the politico-cultural context of public celebrations, such as National Days, Official Festivals, historical anniversaries, Political Meetings etc. in Sub-Saharan Africa. The arrangement of speeches, parades, sport contests etc. on these occasions often features similar elements from one country to the other. The public staging of these festivities is partly reminiscent of "invented traditions" stemming from colonial times, but also exhibiting a particular post-colonial public culture; displaying regional and transnational political references, elements of folklore and even rituals of inversion. In a detailed analysis, however, these events may reflect local particularities as well as changes in the respective national political structures, modes of national integration, but also styles of leadership and self-representation. We propose to explore from different standpoints and in different respects the various practices, performances, meanings and representations related to these modern political rituals.