The field of history is founded on the interrogation of written documents from the past. However, culture is the center of life in Africa. As a result, in the past – and to a degree in the present – the process for documenting events in Africa was not written, it was performed. History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance argues that a wealth of information is housed within traditional Mandinka dance and, consequently, the dances can be used as an African-derived primary source for writing African history. Ofosuwa M. Abiola highlights the overall value of studying Mandinka dance history specifically, and African dance history generally, as well as addressing the issue of scarcity with regard to primary sources for writing African history.
History Dances proves to be a vital read for both undergraduate students and scholars in the fields of dance history, African history, performance studies, and cultural anthropology.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations. Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction: Manjani, Dance of the Initiate. Part I Lamban, Dance of the Jali: Mandinka History and the Origin of Dance Systems. Chapter 1 Mande and the Emergence of a Distinct Cultural System. Part II Kankouran, Dance of the Masquerade: The Particulars of Mandinka Dance. Chapter 2 Form and Mandinka Dance Movements. Chapter 3 Deciphering Mandinka Dance System. Chapter 4 Mandinka Dance: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Part III Dundunba, Strength and Endurance: Historical Cataclysms and Dance Survivals. Chapter 5 Slavery in Africa and its Influence on Dance Systems. Chapter 6 Foreign Religions, Colonialism, Modernity, and Dance. Part IV Sofa, Warrior Dance: Mandinka Dance and Cultural Decolonization. Chapter 7 Fodéba, Touré, Identity, and Dance. Conclusion: Soli, Rite of Passage; Where Do We Go From Here? Glossary of Terms. Index.
Ofosuwa M. Abiola is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Howard University, USA. She is the Coordinator of the Dance Program and the Coordinator of the Honors program in the department. Dr. Abiola founded and was the Artistic Director of the traditional African Dance Company, Suwabi African Ballet, for fifteen years.