ANTH 3390 - Performing Africa in Ghana
Goals: Travel to Ghana (in West Africa) and study at the Dagara Music and Arts Center outside of Accra. Work with Ghanaian professionals in the arts of drumming, dancing, xylophone, and so forth, as a vehicle for appreciating how performance encounters create the place of Africa in the contemporary world.
Content: Paulla Ebron’s book Performing Africa will set the stage for class discussions and individual reflections in this short-term study abroad course. Questions that students explore include: How are African countries using performance of “traditional culture” to bolster their national economies? How is “world music” implicated in Africa’s economic development performance? What is African history if not competing performances of tales from the past? How does the performance of national history help us explore racial politics from a global perspective? As we consume African performances (through music, television, and news) and “perform Africa” ourselves (through singing, dancing, and drumming), how can we make ethical sense of the poverty, disease, and despair we know to be rampant across the continent, and how Africa gets produced, circulated, and consumed through performance.
Taught: Alternate years, extended spring term.
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Credits: 4 credits