Skip to main content

Who is Indigenous? Freeing Indigeneity from a Time Warp

  • 143 Accesses

Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)

Abstract

This chapter reflects on how indigeneity is constructed, promoted and embodied in the performing arts at a postcolonial university. The chapter investigates the packaging of indigenous performing arts using Foucault’s concept of panopticon and Blanchard’s work on the human zoo. It uses Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Venda and Shangaan dance troupe as a case study to interrogate the use of indigeneity as a framing device and performance structure for African indigenous dance(r)s. The chapter can be understood as an imperfect response to three rhetorical questions that an institution mandated with cultural heritage reclamation grapples with. Who creates culture? Who decides what this culture comprises of? How is culture represented? It problematizes the exclusive conflation of indigeneity with the pre-contact experience.

Keywords

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    The Venda and Shangaan are also found in South Africa and Mozambique. In South Africa, the term Tsonga is preferred to Shangaan as the latter is associated with Tsonga speakers who are descendants of a Nguni group led by Soshangane. Not all Tsonga speaking people originally belonged to this Nguni grouping. This chapter focuses on the population groups in Zimbabwe.

  2. 2.

    In July 2007, the Masvingo State University Amendment Act (2007) was passed in Parliament paving the way for Masvingo State University to be renamed Great Zimbabwe University adopting the name of the former Church university.

References

  • Bangré, Habibou. 2010. Great Zimbabwe: An African empire. Afrik-News. https://www.afrik-news.com/article18317.html.

  • Blanchard, Pascal, Nicolas Bancel, Gilles Boetsch, Eric Deroo, and Sandrine Lemaire. 2008. Human zoos: The greatest exotic shows in the west: Introduction. In Human zoos, science and spectacle in the age of colonial empires, ed. Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel, Gilles Boetsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire, and Charles Forsdick, 1–49. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Canessa, Andrew. 2007. Who is indigenous? Self-identification, indigeneity, and claims to justice in contemporary Bolivia. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 36 (3): 195–237.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cobo, José R. Martinez. 1982. Study of the problem of discrimination against indigenous populations. United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO). https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/UNDG_guidelines_EN.pdf. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

  • Desmond, Jane C. 1993. Embodying difference: Issues in dance and cultural studies. Cultural Critique 26: 33–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eber, Christine, and Janet Tanski. 2002. Women’s cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico: Strategies of survival and empowerment in times of struggle. Social Development Issues 24 (3): 33–40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline & punish: The birth of the prison, trans. Alan Sheridan. New York City: Vintage Books. https://foucault.info/documents/disciplineAndPunish/foucault.disciplineAndPunish.panOpticism.html.

  • Gilbert, Helen. 1992. The dance as text in contemporary Australian drama: Movement and resistance politics. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 23 (1):133–47.

    Google Scholar 

  • González, Jennifer. 2008. Subject to display: Reframing race in contemporary installation art. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Great Zimbabwe University. 2017. Great Zimbabwe University timeline. https://www.gzu.ac.zw/timeline/. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

  • Guenther, Mathias, Justin Kenrick, Adam Kuper, Evie Plaice, Trond Thuen, Patrick Wolfe, Werner Zips, and Alan Barnard. 2006. The concept of indigeneity. Social Anthropology 14 (1):17–32. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0964028205001849.

  • Hall, Stuart. 1981. Notes on deconstructing ‘the popular.’ In People’s history and socialist theory, ed. Raphael Samuel, 227–240. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, Stuart. 1998. Notes on deconstructing ‘the popular’. In Cultural theory and popular culture: A reader, 2nd ed., ed. John Storey, 442–53. London: Prentice Hall. https://core.roehampton.ac.uk/repository2/content2/subs/d.steedman/d.steedman1986/Hall%20(1998)%20Notes%20on%20deconstructing.pdf.

  • Hobsbawm, Eric. J, and Terence Ranger. (eds.). 1983. The invention of tradition: Past and present. Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kariamu, Welsh. 2004. African dance. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1998. Destination culture: Tourism, museums, and heritage. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krystal, Mathew. 2012. Indigenous dance and dancing Indian: Contested representation in the global era. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mbembé, Achille J. 2001. On the postcolony. Berkeley, CO: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merrian-Webster.com. 2017. Authentic Merrian-Webster dictionary. Springfield: Merrian-Webster Inc. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authenticity. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

  • Mitchell, Don. 1995. There’s no such thing as culture: Towards a reconceptualization of the idea of culture in geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 20 (1): 102–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ndoro, Webber. 1994. The preservation and presentation of Great Zimbabwe. Antiquity. 68: 616–23. https://www.msu.ac.zw/elearning/material/1211368378Ndoro_1994.pdf. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

  • Paradies, Yin. C. 2005. Beyond black and white essentialism, hybridity and indigeneity. Journal of Sociology 42 (4): 355–67. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783306069993.

  • Research Council of Zimbabwe. 2016. Directory of institutions of affiliation: A guide for foreign researchers. Harare: Research Council of Zimbabwe. https://www.file:///Users/pmaedza/Downloads/DIRECTORY-OF-INSTITUTIONS-OF-AFFILIATION.pdf. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

  • Rogers, Richard. A. 2006. From cultural exchange to transculturation: A review and reconceptualization of cultural appropriation. Communication Theory 16 (4): 474–503. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00277.x.

  • Shay, Anthony. 2006. Choreographing identities: Folk dance, ethnicity and festival in the United States and Canada. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, Linda Tuhiwa I. 1999. Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London and Chicago, IL: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, Diana. 2003. The archive and the repertoire: Performing cultural memory in the Americas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Valdivia, Gabriela. 2005. On indigeneity, change, and representation in the Northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon. Environment and Planning A 37: 285–303. https://doi.org/10.1068/a36182.

  • Wolf, Elise Scott. 1999. Dancing identity: Gwich’in indigenous dance as articulation of identity. MA thesis, San José State University, San José. https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2902&context=etd_thesis. Accessed 22 Jan 2019.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Maedza, P. (2021). Who is Indigenous? Freeing Indigeneity from a Time Warp. In: Ravengai, S., Seda, O. (eds) Theatre from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. Contemporary Performance InterActions. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74594-3_12

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics