Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

With a Luna, “talking drum,” under my arm, I stood on a large auditorium stage, surveying a sea of primary school children and their teachers who were awaiting a performance of “African culture.” It was the spring of 2002, and I was poised...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

My journey into the world of Ghanaian music and dance was initiated when I studied with the exceptional Ewe master drummer Gideon Foli Alorwoyie. I am forever grateful for his patience and continual willingness to share portions of his...

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Ethnomusicology Multimedia Series Preface

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pp. xvii-xx

Each of the audio, video, or still image media examples listed below is associated with specific passages in this book, and each example has been assigned a unique Persistent Uniform Resource Locator, or PURL. The PURL identifies a specific audio, video...

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Introduction: Managing Nationalism, Crossing Crocodiles, and Staging Ethnography

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pp. 3-38

On June 18, 1989, twenty members of the Ghana Dance Ensemble (GDE), the country’s state-sponsored national company, left Accra for a tour of Canada.1 Invited by the National Council of Ghanaian-Canadians and the Ghanaian-Canadian...

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1. Beyond Ethnicity, beyond Ghana: Staging and Embodying African Personality

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pp. 39-77

As the guitar on a recording by Senegalese Afro-pop star Youssou N’Dour sounded a cheerful melody, six female dancers, one by one, skipped onto the stage of the National Theatre of Ghana. Clad in the red, gold, green, and black of the Ghanaian flag, they swung...

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2. Dancing Essences: Sensational Staging and the Cosmopolitan Politics of Authentication

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pp. 78-120

On the evening of November 11, 1967, during the official inauguration, or outdooring,1 of the Ghana Dance Ensemble, Professor Kwabena Nketia addressed a crowd at the Institute of African Studies on the campus of the University of Ghana, Legon...

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3. Soldiers of Culture: Discipline, Artistry, and Alternative Education

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pp. 121-156

One afternoon in the spring of 2007, I came into the dance hall at the University of Ghana just before five o’clock and sat down on a bench that was on an elevated stage overlooking the dancers. They were milling about, their exhausted...

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4. Speak to the Wind: Staging the State and Performing Indirection

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pp. 157-193

On July 24, 2012, Ghana’s sitting president – John Atta Mills–died suddenly in Accra. Although rumors of his battles with throat cancer had been swirling for months, including speculation that his recent trips to the United States were...

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5. “We Are the Originals”: A Tale of Two Troupes and the Birth of Contemporary Dance in Ghana

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pp. 194-238

Since its establishment in 1962, the Ghana Dance Ensemble has been based at the University of Ghana in Legon. In 1990, under the Rawlings regime, a state law was passed that implied that the ensemble should become the resident group at the...

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6. Politics of Personality: Creativity, Competition, and Self-Expression within a Unitary Matrix

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pp. 239-283

Michael Herzfeld keenly observed that “nationalism is directly predicated on resemblance, whether biogenic or cultural. The pivotal idea is that all citizens are, in some unarguable sense, all alike” (1997, 27). Given this, he notes that...

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Conclusion: Managing Self, State, and Nation

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pp. 284-294

In the summer of 2012 I finally had an opportunity, after five years, to return to Ghana. On the first morning back in Accra I traveled to the university to reconnect with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. As I made my way from central...

Notes

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pp. 295-306

References

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pp. 307-326

Index

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pp. 327-342

About the Author

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