[PAST EVENT] Africana Mellon Faculty Lecture: Professor Neil Norman

April 5, 2013
11am - 12pm
Sadler Center, York Room
200 Stadium Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
In the history of the 17th century African Atlantic, the Huedan python and rainbow deity Dangbe is described as the bringer of wealth and the destroyer/unifier of kingdoms. As Huedans were projected into the Diaspora, they incorporated Dangbe into the cos-mologies and political machinations of the places they came to live. This paper situates Dangbe within the cultural history of the 17th and 18th century Da-homey Gap, or "Slave Coast," region and then moves on to case studies in 19th century Mobile, Alabama and the modern art of Romuald Hazoume to addresses the cosmopolitanism connections facilitated by the py-thon deity. In so doing, it argues against popular and scholarly accounts of Dangbe as a quaint and static "tradition" of West Africa and for an understanding of the potency of Dangbe as dynamic symbol of political authority. At least part of this dynamism is due to longstanding trans-Atlantic dialogs framed by Dangbe and his ability to simultaneously inhabit numerous modalities within human and cosmological worlds.