Talk and Film “Diasporic Popular Cultural Practices” :23 May 2016

The Global African Diaspora Studies Plattform invites to a seminar on

“Diasporic Popular Cultural Practices in Marseille and Lisbon: Focus on Twarab and Batuku”

 with Katharina Fritsch, Hanna Stepanik, Andres Carvajal and Birgit Englert (University of Vienna)

Date: May 23, 5pm to 7pm

Location: Kleiner Saal, Afro-Asiatisches Institut in Wien, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Wien (1st floor)

We will present work-in-progress from an ongoing project on popular cultural practices in diasporic contexts. Diaspora is often used as homogenising term, which ascribes people to one group on the basis of an assumed “shared origin”. Therefore, differences in terms of class positions or gendered experiences – to give just two examples – are often overlooked. This is why we take an intersectional perspective in this project by focusing on specific popular cultural practices, which contribute to the construction of diasporic identities. The aim is to analyse if and why certain group constructions gain relevance in specific contexts and what this says about broader societal structures in which they are embedded.

After a short introduction of the project by Birgit Englert, the presentation will focus on the popular music/dance genres Twarab and Batuku which are in the focus of research by Katharina Fritsch and Hanna Stepanik, respectively.

The presence of Twarab in Marseille, a popular music genre in Eastern Africa and on the Comoros, has been strongly related to histories of migration from the Comoros to Marseille. Since the mid-90s, this music genre has becomes dominant within events organized in the realm of Franco-Comorian associations. Batuku – presumably the oldest musical style on the Cape Verde islands – only became relevant in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in the 60s / 70s and is now practiced in a number of contexts.

Further, filmmaker Andres Carvajal will present short sequences (about 15 min) of a research film that he realised as part of the project together with artist Mounir Hamada Hamza, in cooperation with Katharina Fritsch. The film deals with the social situation of artists working in the milieu of Twarab in Marseille and is currently in the post-production phase.

 We look forward to discussing the work-in-progress – written as well as visual – with you!

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