Accepted paper:

Filming Diasporic Koras: Methodology Matters of Diasporic Objects


Carlo Cubero (Tallinn University)

Paper short abstract:

What are the epistemological and ethical results of using ethnographic film-making methodologies to understand Diasporic objects? This paper will focus on the complex meanings the kora assumes when it is contextualised as Diasporic and how film-making can contribute to understand this complexity.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation will address the different meanings and uses the kora, an African harp, assumes when it is contextualised as Diasporic and how these meanings can be understood with ethnographic film-making methodologies. I will draw from material collated during two years of intermittent fieldwork in Benelux amongst West African musicians, amongst whom the kora features prominently, and address how film-making can inform understanding the inconsistent and complex signifiers of the kora when in a Diasporic context. Ethnographic film-making methodologies begin with objects and the relationships they facilitate, rather than with the discourse and semantic associations. They articulate how objects facilitate practise, generate social relationships, and constitute space. A result of this approach is to move away from the insularisation, racialisation, and authenticity politics of objects. Another result, is to take objects seriously and prioritise how they serve to constitute social relations rather than represent them.

panel MMM03
Mobile objects and transnational crafts