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Daniel Reed

Folklore and Ethnomusicology Research Colloquium

Friday, March 22, 2013, 3:30pm

Performance and Lecture Hall, 800 N Indiana Ave

Folklore and Ethnomusicology Research Colloquium: Daniel Reed
Join us for the third Folklore and Ethnomusicology Research Colloquium of the semester!

Friday, March 22nd
3:30 – 5:00 pm
Performance and Lecture Hall
800 N Indiana Ave

“Abidjan USA: Ivorian Immigrant Performance, Life Story and Diasporic Discourse”

By Daniel Reed
Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology
Director of Graduate Studies

The term “New African Diaspora” began gaining currency in scholarly discourse in the 1990s to identify the dramatically increasing population of Africans migrating north during the past quarter century. Since 2006, I have conducted ethnographic research with four individual musicians, dancers, and mask performers from Côte d’Ivoire living in the eastern United States. These performers exemplify in many respects published characterizations of the New African Diasporan; for example, NYC-based Vado Diomande’s life – both in everyday activities and on stage – is fundamentally transnational. On the concert stage, on the cell phone and the Internet, via money transfers, through periodic trips back home, even in dreams and other forms of communication in the spirit realm, Diomande routinely operates in social fields that cross geographic, cultural and political borders. I will illustrate this point by narrating a portion of his life story—a story in which the experience of immigration is inseparable from performance, belief and health care. I will argue that this project’s methods, integrating life story and performance analysis, highlight two issues that are underemphasized in the literature on the New African Diaspora: the arts and individual experience. In the end, I will contemplate what Diomande’s story contributes to our understanding of diaspora, and question the epistemological appropriateness of using the diaspora label to describe his life.