Folklore | African Expressive Culture Now
F609 | 2559 | Reed


The Fall 2003 Wednesday Night Seminar will explore the ways
expressive culture connects to the critical issues at work in African
societies today.  In an era of renewed economic and political
difficulty, the arts are not just glimmers of hope.  People use them
to explore, assess, and negotiate the situations they encounter,
making artistry an important resource in their lives.  Spirit
possession rituals in Madagascar, antelope headdress performance in
Mali, recording studios in South Africa, the gallery scene in
Dakar‹these and many more arenas of expression are being employed by
people to engage the world around them in exciting and noteworthy
ways.

A series of outstanding guest speakers will help us examine these
zones of consequential creativity, from such vantage points as art
history, anthropology, ethnomusicology, linguistics, and theater.
Seminar participants will have the opportunity to produce a research
paper that integrates ideas and intellectual perspectives presented
by our speakers with the topics they are most interested in
addressing.  Themes of interest include: creating personal and
community identity comprehending and negotiating contestation and
conflict engaging social and health problems such as HIV / AIDS and
poverty developing the economic and social opportunities the arts
provide the validity of ³contemporary vs traditional² in these arts
the struggle to succeed as a visual artist or musician the artists¹
use of knowledge, talent, and experience the audience¹s use of
knowledge, talent, and experience

In addition to a research paper, participants will be expected to do
the assigned readings, attend the Wednesday evening lectures, and
participate in the Thursday morning discussions.