Sorcery Trials, Cultural Relativism and Local Hegemonies

Sorcery Trials, Cultural Relativism and Local Hegemonies Stating that sorcery exists in Mozambique is a mere declaration of an obvious and recurring fact. People may use it in order to obtain active results or to protect oneself from undesirable events, in the pursuance of legitimate or illegitimate, beneficial or malevolent goals. The effectiveness of this practice is, nonetheless, an issue that tends to divide readers between outspoken scepticism, attitudes of plausible doubt, complex speeches about its symbolic efficacy, and a somewhat apprehensive fear or agreement.

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15.09.2011 | by Paulo Granjo

Dockanema 2011

Dockanema 2011 This year, as we embark on the sixth edition of Dockanema, my purpose is also one of remembrance, so that we do not forget the importance of documentaries in our society, and above all in our collective memory. To reaffirm this purpose once more, there could be no better choice for the opening of the 6th Dockanema than the Patrício Guzman film Nostalgia da Luz, in an edition intended to pay homage to the master filmmaker Ruy Guerra.

Afroscreen

07.09.2011 | by Pedro Pimenta

Who fears lusosphere?

Who fears lusosphere? It is undeniable that in Lisbon there is a natural approximation of Portuguese-speaking people, not Portuguese of nationality, even when they do not share the same race and culture. National differences reduce face to the discrimination which all are submitted to. And it makes full sense to think about this reduction as a need for resistance to discrimination, because the metropole turns homogeneous all the ex-colonized, grouping them in the categories of “nigger”, “black”, “immigrant”.

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03.09.2011 | by António Tomás

Riots, royal weddings and recession

Riots, royal weddings and recession The thud of hypocrisy does not end here. Seven months after Cameron criticised Egypt's efforts to block access to the internet, he is now considering increasing British police powers over social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger. Echoing the views of more authoritarian regimes, the prime minister says, 'Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.'

City

18.08.2011 | by Lara Pawson

Lusosphere, identity and diversity in the network society

Lusosphere, identity and diversity in the network society Lusosphere has been traditionally intended on the basis of progressively reducing dimensions: the geographic one, that unite the eight countries of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (Portuguese: Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP); the political one, that is confined to Portuguese speaking communities spread all over the world; and finally, the historical and cultural one, related to the Portuguese inheritance in different parts of the earth during the maritime expansion and the colonial empire.

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03.08.2011 | by Lurdes Macedo

The Visible And The Invisible. The 14th Festival of Essaouira Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde

The Visible And The Invisible. The 14th Festival of Essaouira Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde For four days last month, tens of thousands of fans from around the world descended on Essaouira, Morocco, for an African musical extravaganza: the annual festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde, now in its 14th edition. The protagonist of this musical feast was as usual Gnawa music: when to Gnawa masters like Mustapha Baqbou, Mohammed Guinea, and Hassan Boussou were not on the main public stages, they were performing lilas (night of healing) that began at midnight at different riads (traditional style Moorish house with a courtyard); and that is where true European aficionados went to trance and to learn the specifics of daqa marrakchiya (the percussive clap associated with the city of Marrakesh).

I'll visit

22.07.2011 | by Jorge de La Barre

Let’s talk about A House in Luanda

Let’s talk about A House in Luanda Around the competition A House in Luanda: Patio and Pavilion, let’s talk about houses and let’s talk about Luanda. Intending, with all this talk, to add a few considerations to the debate driven by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, in association with the Luanda Triennale, on the role architects could play in the solution to the urban and housing problem of this city with explosive growth, to the increasing socio-territorial inequalities. Let’s talk about houses through an analysis of some of the ideas presented in the competition to which we’ll add others around the problems highlighted on a brief analysis of life in “Luanda’s perimeter”, the place proposed by the competition.

City

18.07.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

How to Write About Africa

How to Write About Africa In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

Mukanda

15.07.2011 | by Binyavanga Wainaina

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - III

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - III Although most of the moral economy theorists discussed so far are critics of historical capitalism, few of them are Marxists. Indeed, whether stressing market rationalism or communal norms, they refuse (often explicitly) to discuss peasant society in class terms (see especially Magagna, forthcoming). Marxist analyses of the peasantry, along with "peasant studies" in general may indeed be out of fashion (Roseberry 1989); nonetheless it is Marxists who continue to search for the cultural components of Third World responses to capitalism-- including witchcraft beliefs. The results may be problematic, but they nonetheless point to paths of inquiry not opened by the individualist and functionalist approaches of other moral economy theories.

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11.07.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen

Communities

Communities Communities are above any kind of suspicion; they are incorruptible and have an unfailing vision for the future of humanity. At least that is how some missionaries for the new religion called ‘development’ think. The trope of civil associations serves to illustrate this sanctified sanctifying concept. This pure thing does not exist. Thankfully. What there are human things, with the faults and virtues of all human things.

Mukanda

04.07.2011 | by Mia Couto

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - II

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history  - II The central trope of the various efforts to define moral economy has been an opposition between, on the one hand, the maximizing individual and ever-expanding market of classical political economy, and on the other a community governed by norms of collective survival and believing in a zero-sum universe: i.e. a world where all profit is gained at someone else's loss. The communal/zero-sum side of this equation is broadly consistent with African beliefs identifying capitalism and witchcraft as the dangerous appropriation of limited reproductive resources by selfish individuals.

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21.06.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen

African Modernity from Johannesburg: William Kentridge's Other Faces

African Modernity from Johannesburg: William Kentridge's Other Faces If any African artist working today can be described as internationally acclaimed, instantly recognizable, with a style marked by a unique personality, it is the South African William Kentridge. A ubiquitous presence in art festivals and exhibitions and in the permanent collections of the great museums, a recipient of numerous prizes, encomia, and honorary doctorates, Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955, when popular uprisings and increasingly harsh repression drew clear lines between partisans and opponents of the racist authoritarian regime.

I'll visit

21.06.2011 | by Beatriz Leal Riesco

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - I

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - I Witchcraft, as used here, is also an abstraction, but one intended to represent directly the terms used by African and other societies to describe their own beliefs and practices. The introductory section of the essay will attempt to identify an African witchcraft idiom which gives broader meaning to texts such as the Beninois oral account of slave-cowry transactions. The concluding section will examine the early-modern European "witch craze" in order to consider how the elaboration of common elements in European and African culture both reflects and mediates differing trajectories into the modern world

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19.06.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen

"Terceira Metade": Conjugating (Subverting?) the Glocal from Benin: Hazoumé, Zinkpé, Quenum

"Terceira Metade":  Conjugating (Subverting?) the Glocal from Benin:  Hazoumé, Zinkpé, Quenum Extrapolating their critique to the demands placed upon Africa by the art market and the culture industry, these artists - Romuald Hazoumé, Dominique Zinkpé e Gérard Quenum - show themselves immune to, if not ignorant of, the self-absorption prevalent in contemporary art. They do not cease to question the processes according to which of African artists in general, and of those from Benin in specific, at once infiltrate and are assimilated by the systems of art and culture.

I'll visit

09.06.2011 | by Roberto Conduru

Urban Africa – thoughts on African cities

Urban Africa – thoughts on African cities These new views of urbanity in Africa force us to re-equate new paradigms, new urbanism models, as Adjaye proposes, and new forms of intervention in urban areas that take into account the multiplicity and complexity of what occurs in each city and that can only be found and managed locally. This applies both to what occurs in the old city centers – some of their “hearts” still beat – as to their replicas that were born afterwards.

City

07.06.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

A Mirror Labyrinth

A Mirror Labyrinth With the same boldness, but in very different conditions, a growing number of non-African youngsters adventure themselves in 21st century Africa. Refusing holiday packages where tourists are locked inside sterilized resorts, foreigners stroll around on their own improvised exploits, prepared with information of the networks and pocket guides. Rucksack on the back, they travel through countries that allow some daring. This way of travelling promotes meeting real people, and not only the crystalline waters or the exotic animals.

I'll visit

04.06.2011 | by Nuno Milagre

"Terceira Metade": in the shadow of silence

"Terceira Metade": in the shadow of silence What to do with his secret? He was the first to wake up in the Village, and the only one who would know that the fire was dead. Was the circle broken? Would he be haunted by the spirits of the elders for his negligence of loving nature? And had there been such negligence?

Mukanda

01.06.2011 | by Ondja ki

Urban Africa: Pan-African View

Urban Africa: Pan-African View David Adjaye, one of the leading architects from his generation, living between London and New York, returned to Lisbon. 'Urban Africa - A Photographic Journey' was the reason why. This exhibition, recently launched at the Black Pavilion of Lisbon City Hall Museum, is a photographic tour but also a retrospective of memories from an architect who never left Africa. 
Born in 1966, in Tanzania, from a family of diplomats, he was soon forced to understand the inevitability of travelling, the need to readapt and redefine oneself. Nevertheless, the nomad lifestyle didn’t break his strong relation with the African continent. His work confirms his deep relationship with its landscapes and its places. In Urban Africa (and also in this conversation) David shares his panoramic view of this vast territory and his – spoken – will to live there again.

Face to face

01.06.2011 | by Rita Palma

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli Thoughts around the interview and conference CIUDAD SUR presented by Pablo Brugnoli, last June 26th on “Próximo Futuro”, Gulbenkian Programme for Contemporary Culture. According to Pablo Brugnoli, CIUDAD SUR reviews ideas, practices and projects by collectives of architects and artists, whose recent works reinterpret cities from the southern cone of America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay). The link between them is their focus on the value of communitarian reconstruction, regarding both the procedures and the socio-cultural dynamics.

City

23.05.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond This paper explores Lisbon’s contemporary music scenes within the perspective of music and cultural circulation. It discusses the various ways in which music and cities interact, in a context of increased inter-connectedness between the local and the global. It suggests that music creation and performance (and more broadly, cultural innovation), cannot be reduced to neither grassroots nor institutional initiatives. On the premises of the existence of a so-called “global culture”, cities tend to reinvent themselves by promoting various (and eventually competing) self-definitions. In the case of Lisbon, this tendency is accompanied by a seemingly increased desire to connect (or re-connect) with the Lusophone world, eventually informing Lisbon’s self-images as an inclusive and multicultural city. In this process, new forms of ethnicity may gain visibility in the marketing of Luso-World music (or World music as practiced in the Portuguese-speaking countries). At the horizon of imagined cities as “transcultural megacities”, music tends to gain agency in the promotion of senses of place and belonging in, and to the city.

City

18.05.2011 | by Jorge de La Barre