The Nankama African Dance Conference
Howard University, Washington, DC
February 8-9, 2020

Dancing Narratives, Preserving Culture

The experiences of people, what they think and believe, how they behave and respond to life, are nestled in their cultural narratives. These narratives are conveyed through written text, images, and symbols. The mediums through which these narratives are expressed are infinite in number and vary according to their locations in time and space. However, researchers have historically limited their investigation of cultural narratives to a small number of mediums, with written documents in first place, and drawn images in second. Yet, from remote periods in time to the present, dance has conveyed, preserved, and invented, narratives without the limitations posed by language. The theme of this year’s Nankama African Dance Conference, Dancing Narratives, Preserving Culture, is a call to action for scholars of diverse disciplines to investigate the narratives that exist in the dances of Africa and the African Diaspora. What do these dances tell us about the people that preserved them, the purpose for their preservation, and the present-day significance of historic dance practices? When African dances are practiced away from their homelands do their meanings change? Is there an inherent continuity in these dances, and if so, what is its significance? Does technology destroy or enhance the narrative conveying capacity in African and African Diaspora dance? Can technology preserve ancient Africana dance? These are but a few examples of potential areas of research. Conference topics can include, but should not be limited to:

  • From Black Superheroes to Afrofuturism: Africana Dance and the Next Generation
  • Dance Is My Weapon: African Dance in African Diaspora Martial Arts Systems
  • A Deeper Look: Examining Symbolism in Africana Dance Attire, Gestures, and Adornments
  • The Stepchild of Research: African and African Diaspora Dance in the Literature of Academia
  • Africana Dance on Film: Benefit or Detriment?
  • Constructing Tools for Documenting African and African Diaspora Dance Narratives
  • Africana Dance: The Language of Activists
  • African Dance in Latin America: Contrasts and Continuities
  • Commercialism, Commodification, Africana Dance, and the Internet

Ancestral Transitions: Significance of the Life of Baba Chuck Davis

*The term “Africana” is understood to represent the Pan-African cultural and historical experiences of people of African descent throughout the globe.

Email 250 word abstracts to: Please type “Nankama Conference Abstract” in the Subject line.

The deadline is: October 15, 2019.

For information:
Dr. Ofosuwa M. Abiola
Department of Theatre and Dance
Coordinator, Dance Program
Howard University

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