How Narco-Trafficking Constitutes A Coastal Nicaraguan Society

Evening class

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Mark Jamieson

How Narco-Trafficking Constitutes A Coastal Nicaraguan Society

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 18:45

This talk is concerned with the relationship between narco-trafficking, myth-making and the perceived failure of the autonomy process in the small coastal communities on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. It assesses the role of this sector of the regional economy in subsistence, development, law and political processes, while examining the actions and perceptions of local people within those communities negotiating various configurations of the relationship between narco-trafficking and an autonomy process that many deem to have floundered. Although the discussion draws on cases principally from the Pearl Lagoon district, it is argued that the conclusions are applicable to coastal communities in other parts of Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, and in a number of aspects to rural communities in other parts of Latin America.

Evening class information

Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Tamara Turner

The Musical Precipitation Of Spirits, Saints, And Selves: Ritual, Music, And Trance In Algerian Popular Islam
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Algerian diwan is a Sufi-inspired music ritual tradition that coalesced out of the trans-Saharan slave trade with the displacement of sub-Saharan populations in Algeria, particularly Hausa, Bambara, and Songhay ethnolinguistic groups. Under three centuries of Ottoman rule, sub-Saharan communities were heavily influenced by the local, popular religious practices and socio-political organization of Sufi brotherhoods. Consequently, diwan developed into a syncretic Afro-Maghrebi ritual practice drawing from what are often labeled 'pre-Islamic, animist, magical' ritual practices of 'black Africa' (bīlād es-sūdān) while absorbing many of the same structures of other musical traditions within popular Islam rooted in North Africa: saint veneration, trance, and ritual healing. In diwan rituals, music precipitates and structures emotional trance and spirit possession trance by 'heating' the energy ('ḥāl') of the ritual in order to 'call' the spirits to possess the bodies of hosts. My ethnographic approach arises out of this fundamental, local concept of ḥāl: a collective, affectively attuned, and nuanced social field without which trance of any kind is impossible. By fleshing out the sensorial phenomena of ḥāl and its local narrative, I examine the role of musico-ritual aesthetics to attend to physical, mental, and emotional needs of diwan adepts and to provide the means for spirits and saints to be reconciled with multiple aspects of the self and the diwan community at large.