Faculty Publications - African Studies

Permanent link for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/2022/3144


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    Prophets and Profits: Gendered and Generational Visions of Wealth and Value in Senegalese Murid Households
    (Brill, 2001) Buggenhagen, Beth
    This paper analyzes the disjuncture between the projected prosperity of male migrant traders of the Murid Sufi order and the actual ability of these traders to maintain the social relations that engender wealth. I focus on an exchange of bridewealth that ultimately resulted in a collapsed marriage to show how households are made and unmade across time and space by diasporic practices. I aim to show how two decades of neoliberal reform in Senegal have had unintended consequences for the prospects of social production. The movement of male traders into transnational trade networks to shore up a stagnant local economy and to reproduce the social and moral order has unanticipated consequences for women's authority. Women claim male earnings not only to run the household, but also to finance the family ceremonies-baptisms, marriages and funerals-and the social payments that accompany these occasions. Women also seek commodities obtained through male trade to exchange in life-cycle rituals. For women, foreign commodities, rather than undermining the production of blood ties, are the very means of making those ties a social fact. In Murid families, the rejuvenation of domestic rituals through access to male earnings abroad sets in motion the production of women-headed households and ultimately of lineages.
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    Picking up the Thread: Recasting Dogon Ideas of Speech in the Work of Geneviève Calame-Griaule
    (American Anthropological Association, 2006-06) Buggenhagen, Beth
    Taking into account the significant body of critique built up around the Dogon corpus, I return to Geneviève Calame-Griaule s ethnography of speech among the Dogon, Ethnologie et langage: la parole chez les Dogon (Words and the Dogon World), to appreciate its role in moving language to the center of ethnographic research. Calame-Griaule s contributions included attention to the full range of communicative practices, giving theoretical weight to her interlocutors embodied linguistic practices, emphasizing the Dogon positioning of speech in the physical and social body, and stressing the importance of analyzing how context renders speech both meaningful and efficacious. Calame-Griaule departed significantly from the Dogon school by focusing not on language and cosmology but rather on language in context that is, everyday talk. Calame-Griaule s work reveals a conception of the types of linkages possible between sign relations and language and materiality. In addition to recasting Calame-Griaule s ethnography in relation to developments in anthropology and linguistics across the Atlantic, I also consider her theoretical insights into dialogicality and context in relation to her particular subjectivity within the Dogon school and among her Dogon interlocutors.
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    Islam and the Media of Devotion in and out of Senegal
    (American Anthropological Association, 2010-11) Buggenhagen, Beth
    Few devotees of the Muridiyya, a Sufi congregation that emerged in colonial Senegal at the turn of the 20th century, have the opportunity to glimpse or touch their spiritual masters. Exalted Murid figures rarely leave their compounds in rural Tuba, and access to them is restricted to high-ranking initiates such as Muslim scholars, government officials, and business leaders. Ordinary disciples are more likely to view religious figures in the variety of media circulating in and out of Senegal. The desire for and appreciation of mediation to facilitate proper practice and proximity to the divine distinguish Murid adepts from their Sunni counterparts. The electronic mediation of devotional practices produces feelings of nearness to spiritual leaders for disciples in Senegal and abroad. Through visual practices related to electronic media, devotees receive religious merit and grace that lead to spiritual and material enrichment and create their spiritual community.
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    Are Births Just “Women’s Business?” Gift Exchange, Value, and Global Volatility in Muslim Senegal
    (American Anthropological Association, 2011-11) Buggenhagen, Beth
    Through global circuits of wage labor and capital, the Murid way has become an economic force in the Senegalese postcolony amid conditions of protracted global volatility. In this article, I analyze women's actions within these global circuits. Women create value by giving gifts during the celebration of births and marriages, gifts that are the product of and the motivating force behind Murid global trade. Female ritual activities, on which male honor rests, draw women into conflict with the Murid clergy, which views women's actions as customary and not part of its modern, austere, and global vision of Islam in Senegal.
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    Fashioning Piety: Dress, Money, and Faith among Senegalese Muslims in Post 9/11 New York City
    (American Anthropological Association, 2012-04) Buggenhagen, Beth
    Many Senegalese women migrate to make a living and build themselves up. The distance enables them to resist daily demands on their income and makes it possible for them to save and to invest in long term projects such as home building, their children's education, and family and religious celebrations. Yet, social criticism often blames women for the problems of marriage: such as the high divorce rate, infidelity, and financial squabbling between spouses. In this paper, I focus on the religious aspects of women's migration; I argue that Murid women deflect criticism of their wealth earned abroad by investing in the signs and symbols of a Muslim Sufi congregation. By visiting (ziyara), dressing up (sañse), and donating generously to shaykhs (addiya), Murid women display their wealth, convey the strength of their social networks, and construct themselves as candidates for salvation. Murid women engage in the global economy and preserve their distinctively Murid vision of the world and their place in it. Is it possible to understand their global engagement as a form of cosmopolitanism, as a practice and a form of consciousness, which is rooted in history and which is universal? The restructuring of the Senegalese state under neoliberal reform and its aftermath in the 1990s and into 2000 has made Muslim global networks important to livelihoods at home and yet, Muslim networks have come under scrutiny globally as the U.S. led Global War on Terror lingers on.
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    A Snapshot of Happiness: Photo Albums, Respectability, and Economic Uncertainty in Muslim Senegal
    (Cambridge University Press, 2014-02) Buggenhagen, Beth
    Young women who live in the improvised urban spaces on the outskirts of Senegal's capital city, Dakar, extemporize their respectability in a time of fiscal uncertainty through personal photography. The neighbourhood of Khar Yalla is an improvised, interconnected and multilayered space settled by families removed from the city centre during clean-up campaigns from the 1960s to the 1970s, by families escaping conflict in Casamance and Guinea-Bissau, and by recent rural migrants. As much as Khar Yalla is an improvised neighbourhood, it is also a space of improvisation. When women pose for, display, and pass around portraits of themselves at key moments in their social life, whether in the medium of social networking sites or photo albums, they reveal as much as they conceal the elements of individual and social life. They index their social networks and constitute their urban space not as peripheral, but as central to the lives and imaginations of their siblings and spouses who live abroad. Photographs actively shape and construct urban spaces, which are often loud, unruly and fraught spaces with vast inequalities and incommensurabilities. How women deal with economic and social disparity, within their own families, communities, and globally, is the subject of this article.
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    Online Bibliography of Chadic and Hausa Linguistics
    (Paul Newman, 2013) Newman, Paul
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    Ibadan, Soutin and the Puzzle of Bower's Tower
    (African Centre for Cities and Chimurenga Magazine, Cape Town, South Africa, 2009) Adesokan, Akin
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    African Immigrant Families' Views on English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes Held for Newly Arrived Immigrant Children in the United States Elementary and Middle Schools: A Study in Ethnography
    (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006) Obeng, Samuel; Obeng, Cecilia
    Twenty immigrant families from different Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone African countries were interviewed about their views on English as a Second Language (ESL) classes offered by the school systems in the United States to newly arrived immigrant children. Whereas nine families (mostly from Francophone and Lusophone Africa) found the ESL classes useful, eleven families (mostly from Anglophone Africa) found them to be useless because they did not help to improve their children's English. Some respondents were frustrated because ofthe criterion used in selecting students to participate in the program, and also because their children were kept in the program long after their English proficiency had improved. Most respondents saw inclusion within the mainstream classes, instead of separate ESL classes, as a better way to increase students' English competency.
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    La sémantique du temps en KinyaRwanda
    (Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France (SELAF), 1983) Botne, Robert D.
    In this study the author endeavors to differentiate and describe the temporal functions of various verbal prefixes in KinyaRwanda. These morphemes are shown to constitute diverse semantic (temporal) systems—vector and segmental—which, when juxtaposed, determine the particular tense relations in any verbal expression. Of particular significance, the analysis demonstrates that verbal morphemes do not, in all cases, have a unique, absolute meaning or function, but shift according to the semantic context in which they are used.
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    The Challenges of Aesthetic Populism: An Interview with Jean-Pierre Bekolo
    (Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, 2008) Adesokan, Akin
    In the early 1990s a young Cameroonian director, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, stormed the annals of African filmmaking with a stylish urban comedy, Quartier Mozart. This fast-paced story about sexual politics in a Yaounde neighborhood was edited on the template of the musical video, a genre in which Bekolo had worked briefly before turning to filmmaking. Quartier Mozart was widely praised for its iconoclastic attitude in a filmmaking tradition which had formalized cultural identity and the politics of self-representation into aesthetic concerns. The form of Bekolo’s work encouraged critics to compare him to the Senegalese Djibril Diop Mambety (d. 1998), another filmmaker who, twenty-years earlier, had similarly redefined African cinema with the magnificent Touki-Bouki (1973), his first work. The film was also so reflexive in its awareness of contemporary cinema that further comparisons with the style of the black American director, Spike Lee, became moot. Such critical comments did not produce an “anxiety of influence” in the young director: he openly and repeatedly declared his interest in the works of Mambety (about whom Bekolo shot a documentary film, Grandmother’s Grammar, 1996). Four years after Quartier Mozart, Bekolo produced and directed Aristotle’s Plot (1996), his commissioned entry in the series sponsored by the British Film Institute to mark the centenary of cinema. Other directors in the series included Stephen Frears, Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorcese, and Jean-Luc Godard. In this film, Bekolo sets up the genre of action film to question the rationale of mimesis, the Aristotle’s plot of the title, which has overdetermined the practice of storytelling, in Hollywood and elsewhere. The confident mix of aesthetic populism and critical, even auterish staging of conceptual issues in African and contemporary filmmaking has become Bekolo’s style. For him, a film has to entertain in the traditional sense but without sacrificing an awareness of its place in a vast, diverse but persistent effort to form and transform the practice of African filmmaking. This is a complex but productive intellectual position within an artistic tradition noted for its divisions, factions, and labels. The commitment is pursued further in Les Saignantes (2005), a beautifully photographed film about two femme fatales who set out to rid their country of its corrupt and sexually obsessed male politicians. It is a hybrid sci-fi-action-horror film set in the year 2025, and again, the director uses the opportunity to discursively explore the forms of cinema and of African politics. Bekolo’s other directorial credits include Boyo (1988), Un pauvre blanc (1989), and Mohawk People (1990). This interview was conducted on April 29, 2006, in New York City.
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    Early 20th Century Swahili Prose Narrative Structure and Some Aspects of Swahili Ethnicity
    (Eckhard Breitinger and Reinhard Sander, 1985) Rollins, Jack D.
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    Variation and Word Formation in Proto-Bantu: The Case of *-YIKAD-
    (Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1991) Botne, Robert
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    On the notion “inchoative verb” in KinyaRwanda
    (Société d’études linguistiques et anthropologiques de France (SELAF), 1983) Botne, Robert D.
    Certain verbs in KinyaRwanda—kú-rwáàrà “to be(come) sick” and gú-túùrà “to live/reside,” for example—have been considered by many linguists (cf. Coupez 1980, Overdulve 1976, Kimenyi 1973) to be stative verbs. The present analysis suggests that it would be better to consider them as “inchoative verbs,” of which three sub-classes can be defined according to linguistic evidence proper to KinyaRwanda itself. The significant aspect of the characterization of inchoatives is the punctual nature attributed to the nucleus of the events named by these verbs; a phenomenon which determines to a great extent their observed linguistic behaviour.
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    A Comparison of Reduplication in Limonese Creole and Akan
    (Battlebridge Publications, 2003) Winkler, Elizabeth Grace; Obeng, Samuel Gyasi
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    Asymmetric coordination in Lega
    (Kölner Institut für Afrikanistik, Köln, Germany, 1998) Botne, Robert; Tak, Jin Young