The concept “African diaspora” refers to the groupings of diverse peoples and cultures that have retained a consciousness of shared origins and are identified as part of a cultural and social continuum with other communities of African origin, including those that remained on the African continent. This concept allows us to speak of continuities and connections within the African world experience, without compromising the historical specificity of each culture under its rubric. This course addresses these historical, geographical, and cultural specificities, with particular emphasis on the anthropological approach to the African diaspora. Taking advantage of the countries visited in this voyage, we will explore the complex historical and cultural connections between the Mediterranean region and the African diaspora. In addition, we will explore topics such as slavery and responses to slavery (rebellions and revolutions); cultural manifestations in the diaspora; and the “big thinkers” of the African Diaspora.
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Field WorkCountry: Turkey
The experience of the African diaspora throughout the world is an experience of oppression and creativity. The Theatre of the Oppressed provides an outstanding understanding of contexts of oppression for the African diaspora and beyond. Also called Theatre for Social Change, the Theater of the Oppressed was created by Brazilian theater director, writer, and politician Augusto Boal in 1971. Since then, it has become a worldwide endeavor used to create dialogue for liberation and conflict resolution, examine community issues, incite political activism, and explore psychological problems. Originally created to give the common man a voice, the theater is now widely used by teachers, artists, social workers and psychotherapists and can be found in the streets, schools, churches, trade-unions, theatres, prisons, etc. In the words of Augusto Boal, "Change is a game we all play and learn together to reinforce the concept that we all have the right to exist with dignity. Its purpose is to help humanize humanity." This participatory workshop, led by Jale Karabekir (Artistic Director of Tiyatro Boyali Kus), will immerse you in theatre for social techniques, such as forum theatre, image theatre, and rainbow of desire. The workshop will also include a discussion with the workshop facilitator regarding Theatre of the Oppressed issues in the host country. After the workshop, Artistic Director Karabekir will join us for lunch at Medi ?ark Sofrasi, a restaurant that specializes on meat dishes from the southeastern region of Turkey, which are served with the house specialty, babam ekmek ('my father's bread'). In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to visit the International Organization for Migration in Istanbul, where Ms. Helen Nilsson will share with us the situation of African refugee migrants in Turkey and the Mediterranean.