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Grant number: FT-59884-12

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Kristina Silke Wirtz
Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5200)

Performing Afro-Cuba in Carnival: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History

The eastern Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba's annual Carnival animates historical figures, traditions, and events of the city and nation's past in mass spectacles that reveal the role of historical imagination in Cuba's current social order. My book project, Performing Afro-Cuba, examines how performing particular stories about Cuba's colonial past and African heritage in carnival competitions, folklore shows, and folk religious ceremonies shapes local and national understandings of Blackness and cultural resistance. I use ethnographic data and field recordings collected from 2006-2011 to explore how voicing, temporal frames, and other semiotic cues of performance contribute to processes of racialization in interaction with other kinds of social identity. I propose to write one chapter on song as a modality of historical memory in two traditional Carabali societies, and another following a Conga ensemble through the Carnival season to explore Santiago's Revolutionary carnivalesque.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012