Accepted Paper:

Lamentation as an expression of grief among Christian mourning women in Syria: an anthropological analysis  

Author:

Anna Poujeau (fondation Thiers-CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

In the Christian community in Syria, funerals unfold into a particular pattern. Their most characteristic feature is undoubtedly the full range of lamentations "said" or "sung" by women with lots of loud weeping and special "sad dances" that may last all day long. Through an analysis of a recorded corpus of the different type of lamentation, called in Syrian dialect nadb, tanawih and sakaba, this paper aims to cast out evidences on how women express their affects individually and collectively by the means of wailing. In an anthropological perspective, I explore how these women say their grief and compose a community of mourning women through their tears, body postures, voices and repetitions for several hours of lamentations.

Paper long abstract:

In the Christian community in Syria, funerals unfold into a particular pattern. Their most characteristic feature is undoubtedly the full range of lamentations "said" or "sung" by women with lots of loud weeping and special "sad dances" that may last all day long. There are three types of lamentations called in Syrian dialect nadb, tanawih and sakaba which may be performed by one woman, a women's choir or all of the women depending on the age and the social status of the deceased. Each type of lamentation is associated to a different metaphorical register where death is never directly evoked but their poetical power is strong enough to make all of the women cry.

Through an analysis of a recorded corpus of the different type of lamentation, this paper aims to cast out evidences on how women express their affects individually and collectively by the means of wailing. In an anthropological perspective, I explore how these women say their grief and compose a community of mourning women through their tears, body postures, voices and repetitions for several hours of lamentations.

Panel W003
Saying the unspeakable: the uses of voice in the narration of traumatic events