In this Book

In the decades following the 1940s, there has been an explosion of scholarly interest in African-styled traditions and the influence of these traditions upon the African diaspora. Africanized customs within the diaspora have elicited several scholarly paradigms including the culture transfer, retention, and tabula rasa approaches to diasporic exchanges. In this book, author Raphael Njoku explores the transnational connections between masquerade narratives and memory over the past four centuries to show how enslaved Africans became culture carriers of inherited African traditions. The practices reenacted by the Igbo and Bight of Biafra modelers in the Americas were not exact replicas of the African prototypes, however. Cultural modeling is dynamic, and the inheritors of West African traditions often adapted their customs to their circumstances--altering and transforming the meaning and purpose of the customs they initially represented. This account of masquerade plays questions the scholarly predisposition towards ethnicization of African cultural artifacts in the Americas. With the Bantu migrations serving as a catalyst for ethnic mixing and change prior to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, African-themed cultural activities in the New World became dilutions of practices from several ethnic African and European nations. African cultures were already experiencing changes through Bantuization, and, in this well-researched and important scholarly work, the author explores the extension of this process beyond the African continent. RAPHAEL CHIJIOKE NJOKU is professor of history at Idaho State University. This book is openly available in digital formats thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. open access contents
  1. Half-Title Page, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vii
  3. open access contents
  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. open access
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  1. Figures and Tables
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. xvii-xviii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-19
  3. open access contents
  1. 1. On Origins of Masking: History, Memory, and Ritual Observances
  2. pp. 20-42
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  1. 2. Aspects of Society and Culture in the Biafra Hinterland
  2. pp. 43-66
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  1. 3. Bantu Migrations and Cultural Transnationalism in the Ancient Global Age, c. 2500 BC-1400 CE
  2. pp. 67-88
  3. open access contents
  1. 4. Bight of Biafra, Slavery, and Diasporic Africa in the Modern Global Age, 1400-1800
  2. pp. 89-110
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  1. 5. Igbo Masquerade Dances in the African Diasporas: Symbols and Meanings
  2. pp. 111-135
  3. open access contents
  1. 6. Unmasking the Masquerade: Counterideologies and Contemporary Practices
  2. pp. 136-159
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  1. 7. Idioms of Religion, Music, Dance, and African Art Forms
  2. pp. 160-184
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  1. 8. Memory and Masquerade Narratives: The Art of Remembering
  2. pp. 185-198
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 199-234
  3. open access contents
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 235-270
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