Khokholkova N. E. “Memory as medicine”: performative commemorations in the context of the American version of afrocentrism

NADEZHDA E. KHOKHOLKOVA — Candidate of Historical Sciences, Research Fellow, Centre for History and Cultural Anthropology, Institute for African Studies; Analyst, Center for Scientific Projects Development, Russian State University for Humanities (Russia, Moscow) 
E-mail: khokholkova@gmail.com

 

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УДК 316.722 
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2019-4(6)-213-219

 

ABSTRACT. In the era of postcolonialism and postmodernism, the issues of historical memory have assumed particular relevance. In the last third of the twentieth century, under the requirements of rapidly changing societies, new patterns of memorial culture began to be constructed. One of them has emerged as a part of the discourse of Afrocentrism. Ideological movement based on the concept of centrality of Africa and all the people of African descent in the world history, was converted in the early 1980s into a comprehensive socio-cultural theory due to the efforts by Molefi Kete Asante. This theory was urged to decolonize the space of historical memory and change African Americans’ consciousness. The Afrocentrists developed several commemorative practices in order to eliminate the post-traumatic slave syndrome and inferiority complex, which are familiar to many African Americans. The article deals with performative commemorations—ceremonies, rituals, and other activities intended for creating, preserving, transmitting, and representing both triumphal and traumatic memories. The author focuses on the Kwanzaa festival and the Maafa commemoration. The article explores the reasons for designing these commemorative events in the USA and analyzes their essence, symbolism, and significance.

 

KEYWORDS: commemoration, performance, Afrocentrism, Kwanzaa, Maafa

 

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