embodied histories

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Published on November 22, 2007

Author: Woodwork

Source: authorstream.com

Embodied histories:  Embodied histories Royal investiture, masking and memory in Cameroon Etymologies of masking:  Etymologies of masking kәkúm ~ a mask kùm ~ to lock, touch, to be adjacent kәnkùm ~ a lock kәnkùmten ~ a follower (in a queue, hierarchy, or line of masks) From language to performance:  From language to performance Fulәŋgaŋ: the masked dance of the palace kwifon society Mbכkә Nokan: the slave twins Kәkum Njaŋ: the procession of the fon, his wives, and the ‘things of the palace’ The Fulәŋgaŋ dance:  The Fulәŋgaŋ dance Polymorphous masks Zoomorphic headdresses Pelt-covered headdresses Feather gowns Red gowns Cowry shell embroidery Performance and paranoia: Kwifon’s announcement :  Performance and paranoia: Kwifon’s announcement Someone has brought poisoned gun powder to the palace The food of one of the women’s groups is poisoned Someone disguised as a mask is planning to commit a murder Mabu, the mask driver:  Mabu, the mask driver The solo dance ~ ƒiεŋә The group dance Mabu a third leader / captain The other masks meek and browbeaten The colonial caravan:  The colonial caravan During the whole length of the portage, certain elements try to drop behind, or to escape into the bush. Thanks to treating them regularly to the ‘twenty-five’, the majority of them nevertheless manage to remain in line… Marie-Pauline Thorbecke, 1914. Masking memories::  Masking memories: The slow shuffle of the masks ~ The hunger and exhaustion of the carriers The stooped figure of the dancer ~ The porter staggering under his headload The policing mask and ‘Captains’ essential to the village dances ~ The drivers and officers essential to slave caravans and colonial porters Masking memories::  Masking memories: 4. The closeness of the dancers to each other and their restricted movement ~ The practice of keeping slaves and porters in wooden fetters 5. Masks as both ‘that which locks / which is locked’, their cowry-embroidered gowns ‘bags’, their headdresses ‘heads’ ~ ‘bags’ and ‘heads’ were once the currency for slaves Nokan:  Nokan Jesters Parody of fulәŋgaŋ Corpses Forest-dwelling ghosts of slaves Spies / kidnappers The Nokan’s procession:  The Nokan’s procession The Mboke Nokan:  The Mboke Nokan Slide18:  My Master did not pretend to sell me but kept me & pretended to be fond of me, did use me better than others had done, gave me plenty to eat (…) then the man carried me away again to another place, and there sold me for a piece of Cloth and a little salt to a Trader. Josiah Nyamsey 1820. Ankermann (1959) described fon Tam of Bum's grave house in the early 1900’s: :  Ankermann (1959) described fon Tam of Bum's grave house in the early 1900’s: “On the grave, a large porcelain vase, a pith helmet and a broken earthenware dish. At the head of the grave... was a bench, and on and below it was a carved wooden stool of spider design and an old phonograph.” Chilver (pers. comm. 1995) on the Bali and Big Babanki palaces in the 1950’s::  Chilver (pers. comm. 1995) on the Bali and Big Babanki palaces in the 1950’s: “In Bali I found Toby jugs (Staffordshire), red Bohemian glass carafes with gilt stoppers, and some … German Art Deco jardinières. The fon of Big Babanki showed me some very pretty blue-banded lusterware jugs ‘worth plenty slave’. At Bamali palm wine was being poured out of a very large brown-glazed teapot, lid missing.” Aporia, overdetermination:  Aporia, overdetermination The three performances discussed –the Fulәŋgaŋ, Nokan, and Kәkumnjaŋ - are all aporetic The reenactment of caravans, and the prominence of death in all three processions refer to more than one historical period The rites of investiture are overdetermined by the past The postmodernity of slavery:  The postmodernity of slavery The historical memories embodied in the performances are inseparable: they occur at once There is no chronology to traumatic historical experience. History recurs belatedly Violent pasts engender a perpetual futurity: they are what will have been

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