Abstract

This essay explores the significance of art in political and social change by way of evidence from the Swahili coast of East Africa. Analysis of two musical genres, ngoma and dansi (typically glossed as "traditional dance" and "urban jazz"), exposes common aesthetic principles of innovation, inventive appropriation, competitive opposition, linguistic indirection, and intertextuality. Historical analysis further reveals that both genres have served as effective modes of political action in Swahili communities. I use this data to question prevailing assumptions about Swahili cosmopolitanism, challenge traditional/modern binarisms, and theorize the relationship between art and society.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 609-637
Launched on MUSE
2003-11-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.