STREAM: Women and the Environment in the African Arts

STREAM: Women and the Environment in the African Arts

Cultural concepts, attitudes and behavioural patterns are embedded in African arts. In African philosophy, the earth takes on feminine attributes. From this perspective, this stream invites panels to interrogate experiences, identities and representations of women resident in Africa, and the embodiment of the environment (the physical and supernatural earth, its surroundings and their natural resources and encumbrances) in African arts – African music, visual art, literature, dance and drama as enshrined in performance concepts and practices, past and present.

  • Women and the environment in popular culture.
  • Women and the environment in production, distribution, marketing and consumption of the African Arts.
  • Women, environmental degradation and the African Arts
  • Women, environment, conflict resolution and the African Arts.

 

CONFIRMED PANELS

PANEL 1: WOMEN, ENVIRONMENT, CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND THE AFRICAN ARTS

African women play crucial roles in maintaining cultural values, peace, security and the wellbeing of individuals and the environment (the emotional, physical, and supernatural earth, its surroundings and their natural resources and impediments). In situations of conflict (when there are violent or nonviolent social ferment and crisis arising, from perceived or real incompatibility of interests) their peacebuilding skills are utilized. Women often resolve conflicts through the means of the arts, such as music, dance, drama, literature and the arts. This is possible because African arts are imbued with developmental resources in their concepts and practices. The artistic philosophy animating African arts prescribes that their aesthetics resides within the framework of their creative intention and social outcome. The most important communication for the wellbeing of the society is usually hidden under the façade of artistic creation, and can only be deciphered by a well-trained mind in that knowledge system.

The dynamic nature of culture, coupled with the preference and adoption of foreign cultural arts, occasioned by globalization, have resulted to the relegation and the decline in the practice and performance of these intangible cultural heritage. The consequence is that the developmental resources enshrined within these arts are underutilized, and often completely subdued, since their efficacy is no longer widely experienced.

This panel interrogates the involvement of women, through the musical arts, in the resolution of violent and nonviolent conflicts in the physical, social and emotional environments of African societies. The method of research includes literary sources, participant and non-participant observations in different locations in Igboland and among Berber women in North Africa. It does this by revisiting, evoking and reapplying the indigenous knowledge enshrined in the philosophy and practice of African arts. The shared understanding of scholars in this panel is that the concept, attitude and practice of the African musical arts –  including music, dance, song text and drama – aid adequate and appropriate expressions of deep emotional feelings. Consequently, their communication-enhancing capabilities make them veritable tools for the resolution of obdurate conflicts bedeviling the society). The papers ‘Conflict Resolution Principles and Practice in Igbo Music: Opi Women’s Music and Resolution of Sexual Molestation of Elderly Women’ and ‘Women, Music and Societal Edification in Igboland: The Okigwe Experience’, interrogate how specific women’s groups, using musical arts of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria, were able to resolve persistent and intractable conflicts that had plagued specific Igbo communities for years, and which had defied modern means of conflict resolution mechanisms.  While ‘Igbo Women Negotiating Peace and Environmental Friendly Attitudes Through Music’ investigates the use of song texts, dance and dramatic arts by Igbo women in resolving conflicts, ‘Berber Feminine Poetry and the Quest for Freedom’ interrogates how poetry delivered through music, brings solace to marginalized Berber women.

Even though it is evident that women are often given subordinate and subservient positions, this panel argues that their significant roles in conflict resolution (a domain that would expectedly be reserved for men), and a few other crucial issues affecting the society and the environment, are relics of the roles they once played in the distant past, especially in Igbo society. These they mostly achieved with the arts.

  • Conflict Resolution Principles and Practice in Igbo Music: Opi Women’s Music and Resolution of Sexual Molestation of Elderly Women, Felicia Ezeugwu (University of Nigeria, Nigeria)
  • Women, Music and Societal Edification in Igboland: The Okigwe Experience, M. C. Anya-Njoku (University of Nigeria, Nigeria)
  • Igbo Women Negotiating Peace and Environmental Friendly Attitudes Through Music, Maria Trinitas Oluchi Keke (University of Nigeria, Nigeria)
  • Berber Feminine Poetry and the Quest for Freedom, Mohamed Afkir (Laghouat University, Algeria)

PANEL 2: Women and empowerment in pre-colonial African arts: music, drama, literature and visual art.

 

  • Women and empowerment in precolonial performance arts perspectives of music, dance, drama, literature and visual arts, Professor Josephine Ngozi Mokwunyei (University of Benin, Nigeria)
  • Echoes of Pre-colonial Benin Arts as Enacted by Peju Layiwola’s “Whose Centenary?” Performance, Professor John Ogene (University of Benin, Nigeria)
  • Queen Idia and the Emergence of Ekasa Dance Performance as Cultural Ideology and Expression in Benin Kingdom, Dr. Josephine Ebiuwa Abbe (University of Benin, Nigeria)
  • Women in Pre-Colonial Francophone African Drama: A Reading of Jean Pliya’s Kondo Le Requin, Dr. Stella Onome Omonigho  (University of Benin, Nigeria)

 

Contact Details:

Email: ijeoma.forchu@unn.edu.ng; ijeforchu@gmail.com Phone: +234 804 410 5122

For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website  http://www.asauk.net/call-for-papers-and-panels-asauk-2018-now-open/ 

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