Folklore | PERFORMANCE IN COMMUNICATION & CULTURE: Ritual & Performance in Africa
F609 | 2443 | Stoeltje

Meets with C627 & G731.  Ritual and Performance are intimately linked,
nowhere more so than in Africa.   Performance is intrinsic to the notion of
ritual for without performance there is no ritual.  If we take ritual to be
the social act basic to humanity, as Rappaport argues, this formal event and
the multiple related ritual genres (festival, carnival, drama, contests,
pilgrimage, etc.), provide an arena for the exploration of the social
response to contradiction .  Performances of interpretation, rituals
intensify and condense communication, creating an experimental technology,
in the words of the  Comaroffs, to affect the flow of power in the universe,
to plumb the magicalities of modernity.

The course will focus on the larger concept of ritual genres as performed
within various locations in Africa, and also ones that entice ritual
participants to Africa, and ones that lure them from Africa, "going out."
This approach seeks to identify the creative power of ritual as it addresses
politics, tourism, gender, and religious practice.  Several Africanist
scholars and African leaders will be invited to deliver a public lecture on
Wednesday evening, and the course will conclude with a festival of African
film, focused on performance.

The course meets every Thursday morning and on selected Wednesday evenings
for public guest lectures.  Attendance at both is required for 3 credit
hours. A student who wishes to take the course for less than 3 credits can
make arrangements with Professor Stoeltje ( or  through
the African Studies Program office. (

Two papers will be required: one 10-page paper and one 20-page paper.
Readings will be announced.