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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55642
Doc. No:TL25596
Call number:‭3349982‬
Main Entry:John C. Willis
Title & Author:Masquerading politics: Power and transformation in a West African kingdomJohn C. Willis
College:Emory University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:272
Abstract:My dissertation, Masquerading Politics: Power & Transformation in a West African Kingdom, examines the history and politics of masquerades in an ancient Yoruba kingdom from 1770 to 1901. It explores the ways in which masquerades shaped and were transformed by changes in Yoruba social, economic, and political history in the precolonial period. Masquerades, which have long been central to many West African cultures, are ritualized spectacles of performance. They often involve masked individuals who temporarily assume the status of spirits or of historical figures (who were prominent and looked up to in their communities). Masquerades mark seasonal changes and major political events as well as natural or social events significant to the life of the community, such as births, weddings, and funerals in addition to harvests and epidemics. Operating under the control of masquerade organizations, these performances have provided important spaces where participants could comment on, and actively engage in shaping, rapidly changing political orders. My research focuses on the complex ways in which masquerades helped Yoruba speakers negotiate a number of major transformations that occurred over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These changes included: the decline of kingdoms and the rise of warrior states; the expansion and eventual abolition of the Atlantic slave trade; the emergence of agricultural production for European markets; the introduction of Christianity and the spread of Islam; and, finally, the imposition of British colonial rule. I draw on both oral and archival evidence to reconstruct the history of Otta, a Yoruba town and capital of kingdom, through an examination of traditions surrounding the origins and development of its masquerades.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Awori people; Masks; Yoruba people; Masquerades; West African; Cultural anthropology; African history; Art history; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0377:Art history; 0331:African history
Added Entry:K. Mann
Added Entry:Emory University