Culture and Society

Julius Nyerere National Museum, Butiama, Tanzania, October 2020

Gender & LGBT in Words and in Practice

This theme concerns gendered identities in African postcolonial politics; it explores the construction and uses of gender in various settings; it notably focuses on frictions between LGBT activists and the state, and on the interplay between global gendered identity and local conceptions and practices.

Refugees, NGOs and Artists vis-à-vis the Humanitarian Governance

This theme is about refugees’ life in refugee camps or in urban settings; interactions between refugees, NGOs, governmental and international agencies; assimilation, repatriation, reintegration and reinstallation; and the role of art – music, dance, theatre – in the humanitarian governance in (East) Africa. In 2020, one workshop will be organized in Kenya and several field research supported.

Dance & Music

Studying practices like dance and music but also literature, theatre and comic shows or body aesthetics and clothing in their political and economic context contributes to giving insight into cultural change but also helps to highlight the legacy of the past -especially of the colonial era and early postcolonial times-, the past and current production of national, subnational or gendered identities, and more generally the politicization of culture. IFRA has explored these topics for many years, resulting in several collaborative publications, e.g. Wahome Mutahi’s World (ed. H. Maupeu & P. Mutahi, 2005) or Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa (ed. H. Maupeu & K. Njogu, 2007). IFRA’s most recent publication, in partnership with Twaweza publisher, is: Music and Dance in Eastern Africa ed. by Kahithe Kiiru & Maina wa Mutonya (2018). Several recent Mambo! working papers address this topic. in 2020, a one-year program on “Music and politics in East Africa” notably funded by the Institut Français will explore East African artists’ engagement for the environment, human rights and social justice.

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