Saraka and Nation

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  • Saraka and Nation

Concerned, thematically, with postcolonial cultural formations, and in particular the experience of the African Diaspora, the Saraka and Nation project traces connections between cultures of Africans in the Americas and sites of memory in Africa.

Through investigation of aspects of contemporary hemispheric American culture—narrative traditions such as Ananse/folk stories of the southern United States and the Caribbean, capoeira dances of Brazil, Big Drum Nation Dance of Carriacou, Voudoun traditions of Haiti, Saraka and Shango/Orisha in Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada—the project identifies and establishes contact with specific sites in Africa. The Ananse stories of the U.S. South and the Caribbean suggest connections with Ghana, Brazil’s capoeira references Angola, saraka and Shango/Orisha have cultural references suggesting links with Yoruba traditions existing largely in what is contemporary Nigeria, songs and dances of the Carriacou Big Drum invoke “nations” such as Temne, Ibo, Arada, Asante and Gaa (Kromantyn)—precolonial nations existing today in postcolonial nation states like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

Completed in collaboration with researchers in the Americas, Africa and Europe, the project’s first phase is already being used (spring 2008) for teaching in the humanities.

2006| Director: Merle Collins| Topics: , , |