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Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation, and Caste in Mande

Barbara G. Hoffman

Published by Indiana University Press
ISBN 10: 0253338050 / ISBN 13: 9780253338051
New / Hardcover / Quantity Available: 17
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Title: Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation, and ...

Publisher: Indiana University Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Book Type: Hardcover

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Hardcover. 320 pages. Griots at WarConflict, Conciliation, and Caste in MandeBarbara G. HoffmanAn extraordinary account of conflict and peacemaking among griots. . . . a compelling study of how social identities and relationships are constructed and reconstructed through action, specifically through speech. . . . The book succeeds marvelously in conveying the voice of the people who are, in every sense of the word, its subject. Robert LaunayIn 1985, while she was an apprentice griot or jelimuso, Barbara G. Hoffman saw and recorded a remarkable event in the small town of Kita, Mali. For four days, thousands of griots from all parts of the Mande world gathered to talk, sing, and make music in celebration of the opening of the new Hall of Griots and the installation of the recently named Head Griot. This unprecedented assembly also marked the end of a deadly two-year conflict fought with griot weaponswords, reputations, and sorcery. Hoffman captures griots making speeches, singing songs of praise, and dancing in honor of their restored unity. Her discerning interpretations of the speeches not only explore the art of griot oratory but show how the use of history, metaphor, religion, proverbs, and praise can mend a community torn apart by war. The speeches, often marked by a keen edge, also reveal what it means to be a griot in a casted society and to demand that other castes recognize and respect this unique identity. The griots formidable linguistic abilities come to the fore as they negotiate, reestablish, and assert their cultural power. This exceptional book, including generous extracts from the griots speeches in Mande and in translation, offers surprising and important insights into the multiple meanings of Mande culture, caste, and identity. Barbara G. Hoffman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Cleveland State University. She is author of many essays on Mande culture and producer of ethnographic videos on East and West African cultures. She is known to the Mande griot community as Jeli Jeneba Jabate. Contents Prologue: An Invitation to WarPower and Paradox: Griots and Mande Social OrganizationIn the Hands of Speech: Mande DiscourseA History of Fadenya: Interpretations of the Kita Griot WarMaking Boundaries: When Griots Speak before NoblesBreaking Boundaries: When Nobles Speak before GriotsThe Healer Who Is Ill Must Swallow His Own Saliva: When Griots Speak to GriotsCaste, Mande StyleEpilogue: A Wound Cannot Heal on Pus This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory # 9780253338051

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Synopsis: In 1985, while she was an apprentice griot or jelimuso, Barbara G. Hoffman saw and recorded a remarkable event that took place in the small town of Kita, Mali. For four days, thousands of griots from all parts of the Mande world gathered together to talk, sing, and make music in celebration of the opening of the new Hall of Griots and the installation of the recently named Head Griot. This unprecedented assembly, unheard of in the history of the Mande, also marked the end of the two-year long 'War of the Griots'; a deadly conflict fought with the tools of the griot verbal masters - words, reputations, and sorcery. "Griots at War" captures griots in action as they made speeches, sang songs of praise, and danced in honor of their renewed unity. Hoffman's discerning transcription and examination of the speeches not only reveals the oratorical skills of griots, but their skill in using history, metaphor, religion, proverbs, and praise to mend a community that had been torn apart by war.But Hoffman discovers a startlingly keen edge to the griots' words. Who intervenes, and how, when war breaks out in the griot community? The speeches made at Kita expose both griots and nobles engaged in behaviours that were strikingly unexpected of people of their status. Hoffman shows that griot public oratory also functions to delineate the boundaries of griot castes and to persuade other castes to recognise and respect what gives each caste its unique identity. While the verbal art of griots has been well documented in the form of epic poetry, "Griots at War" brings their formidable linguistic abilities to the fore as they negotiate, reestablish, and assert their cultural power. This exceptional book offers surprising and important insights into the multiple meanings of Mande culture, caste, and identity.

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