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Epistemologies of the Body : Cultural Resistance in Salvador (Brazil) and Cartagena (Colombia)

Title data

Gruber, Valerie V. V.:
Epistemologies of the Body : Cultural Resistance in Salvador (Brazil) and Cartagena (Colombia).
Event: XXIV Biennial Graduate Student Colloquium : Hegemonic Ideologies and Resistance in Iberian, Latin American, and Latinx Languages, Literatures and Cultures , 25.-26. Feb. 2021 , Austin, USA / online.
(Conference item: Conference , Speech )

Project information

Project title:
Project's official title
Project's id
Moral Geographies of Re-Existence: Socio-cultural Practices and Visions of a Good Life in Afro-descendant Communities in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) and Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)
EXC 2052/1 – 390713894

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
This presentation is the outcome of research conducted within the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany's Excellence Strategy – EXC 2052/1 – 390713894.

Abstract in another language

Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) and Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) are traumatic places where Afro-diasporic communities challenge persistent colonial ideologies through manifold practices of resistance. Both cities were former ports of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and, nowadays, they are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. This paper explores how residents of marginalized neighborhoods in both cities struggle against domination by means of cultural practices such as music, dance and poetry. Their movements, rhythms, song texts and Afro hairstyles contest racialized stigmatization and inscribe counter-narratives in spaces structured by (neo-)colonial hierarchies. They help recover from traumatic experiences, preserve silenced memories, reconstruct fragmented identities and re-signify neglected knowledges. To engage with these bodily modes of cultural resistance, which are often sidelined by Western academia, we developed an approach of participatory action research with the REPROTAI network from Salvador and the Candilé cultural group from Cartagena. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, we have been realizing our activities only in the virtual sphere. Thereby, the bodily dimension of cultural resistance turned out to be even more important than previously thought. Against this backdrop, my paper explores the notion of Epistemologies of the Body, focusing on those processes of resistance that are ephemeral, tactical and corporeal. This is particularly important in places where black bodies have been systematically objectified and violated for centuries. As a whole, the project aims at calling our attention to collective practices which are often overlooked by linguistic and discursive academic approaches.

Further data

Item Type: Conference item (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Epistemologies; Body; Culture; Resistance; African Diaspora
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > EXC 2052 - Africa Multiple: Afrikastudien neu gestalten
Graduate Schools > BIGSAS
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Graduate Schools
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
700 Arts and recreation > 700 Arts
900 History and geography
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2021 14:54
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2021 14:54