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Tambor de Crioula in Strange Places: The Travels of an Afro-Brazilian Play Form

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 86, Number 3, Summer 2013
pp. 825-850 | 10.1353/anq.2013.0042



This article intervenes in contemporary debates on the nature of cosmopolitanism and the production of hybrid cultural forms by drawing on first and second hand ethnographic materials on tambor de crioula, an Afro-Brazilian play form. Alternatively emphasizing local, global, and diasporic connections, I chronicle the travels of tambor from peasant villages to a first world metropolis, considering the practice’s engagement in ethno-racial struggle, spiritual actualization, improvisational pedagogy, and “exotic” performance as markers of cosmopolitan city life. I argue that while postcolonial desire for Otherness shapes Western consumption of trans-national cultural goods, tambor offers resistant and rearticulatory forms of embodied emplacement and sociability that defy unidirectional interpretations.

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