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Cultural Memory and Intangible Heritage in the Dominican Republic

Bahrs, Karoline (2009) Cultural Memory and Intangible Heritage in the Dominican Republic. In: Society for Ethnomusicology, 19 November 2009 - 22 November 2009, Mexico City. (Unpublished)

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In 2001 and 2005, UNESCO nominated two “cultural traditions” of the Dominican Republic as Intangible World Heritage, the Cofradía del Espíritu Santo and the Cocolo dance theater traditions. Not surprisingly, the two “traditions” are highly different in their historical contexts, performance practices, and accompanying forms, but they are strikingly similar as formerly marginalized traditions within mainstream Dominican society due to perceived African derivation. Despite their differences, UNESCO and the Dominican nation-state collaboratively organized joint stage performances of these groups or of one of them with other artists. Both, the choice of the two cultures as well as their appropriation as Dominican heritage shed light on social ambiguities in the national discourse: As African-derived expressions are widely negatively associated with Haitian immigration and savage religiosity, the masterpieces’ emergence in the environment of sugar plantations shared with Haitian working migrants, for instance, is left out. The two nominated “traditions” have symbolic power for social reconciliation and cultural memory in the Dominican Republic. Examining UNESCO video clips this paper asks what kind of information is represented by UNESCO and Dominican state and what is thereby constantly omitted.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bahrs, Karoline
Date: 24 November 2009
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: 1 - 11
Event Title: Society for Ethnomusicology
Event Dates: 19 November 2009 - 22 November 2009
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2010 19:59
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2018 00:55


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