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Between dossiers and practices of cultural reproduction: intangible heritage in southern Africa

Grant number: 22/11228-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2023
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Christiano Key Tambascia
Grantee:Sara Santos Morais
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This postdoctoral project focuses on the processes of patrimonialization of cultural expressions carried out in Southern African countries with the purpose of recognition by Unesco as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The research will be carried out on two research fronts: the survey and analysis of the application dossiers and a case study, in comparative perspective, of the processes through which the timbila (in Mozambique) and the mbira (in Zimbabwe and Malawi) came to be recognized as cultural heritage. Each of these fronts implies investigative procedures, comparative strategies and distinct and specific, albeit integrated, scales of analysis. In theoretical-methodological terms, my reflection and analysis will mobilize a set of methods, procedures and techniques that combine ethnographic observation, historical reconstruction, and situational analysis. Regarding the dossiers, I am interested in identifying and understanding the discursive, narrative and political mediations and elaborations contained in their descriptions; for that, it will be necessary to collect these documents and the sources used in them. Regarding the case study, I will seek to understand the changes over time in the trajectory of the two compared practices (spaces of production and reproduction, relationships with different social agents, circulation dynamics, etc.), the perception of mbira practitioners included in the dossier as bearers of the candidacy, and the survey of written sources used in the preparation of the form, with the purpose of analyzing its long process of patrimonialization. The research will include a survey of bibliographic and archival material in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Portugal, as well as interviews and participation in events such as meetings, presentations and festivals. Anthropological research on intangible heritage in southern Africa is still scarce. Filling this gap, the present project intends to expand the knowledge about the universe of intangible elements in this region, for the consolidation of a research program of greater amplitude. The expectation, with the results, is to contribute to the production of new material on the subject and to provide a more general theoretical reflection focused on intangible heritage from the perspective of anthropology.

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