Persons of Courage and Renown : Tuareg Actors, Acting, Plays, and Cultural Memory in Northern Mali
Susan Rasmussen

Persons of Courage and Renown is a theoretically engaged ethnography by a social/cultural anthropologist that explores issues of culture, memory, creativity, and power by analyzing beloved, yet vulnerable, actors, acting, and play performances in Tamajaq-speaking, predominantly Muslim, traditionally stratified, and semi-nomadic Tuareg communities in northern Mali. The town and region of Kidal are the primary sites of field research. This book traces how Tuareg actors powerfully negotiate cultural memory and encounters in communities caught, between political violence and peacekeeping efforts in northern Mali. Urban, state, and nongovernmental bureaucracies there seek to reshape Tuareg verbal art performances to comply with official agendas aimed at transforming local culture. This book shows how acting and plays are crucial in continuing, but also debating and redefining, the meanings of older verbal art performances of Tuareg tales, songs, and epics, as well as wider cultural knowledge and social practice. Their arts offer important possibilities for peacemaking in a turbulent and unpredictable world.

Lexington Books
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