Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Generation Fly to Fly: Urban Transformation, New Cosmopolitanism, and the Politics of Women's Voicing in Dakar, Senegal

The research from which this dissertation is drawn was conducted in 2009-2012 with women vocalists and other cultural and religious practitioners throughout the region of Dakar, Senegal, rural sites in the Sine-Saloum Delta, and the inland Sufi pilgrimage sites of Touba and Prokhane. Using a series of ethnographic methodologies, I approach the phenomenon of Dakroise women's sounding through the amplifier of media anthropology, in which sound, sensation, and indigenous discourses on culture and the arts illuminate contemporary Senegalese cultural practice. These contexts evidence the specific, cumulative ways in which music works for the women of Dakar. At the same time, I examine the broader current sociopolitical conjuncture at work on Senegalese culture, in which a global economic crisis, the mass migration and emigration of Senegalese young people, new movements in international Islam, and national political and legal strife shape the dimensions of women's creativity. I argue within that women's vocal practice in Dakar constitutes a material cultural formation that substantially helps Senegalese people to survive and thrive in an atmosphere of postcolonial struggle. Drawing from a deep well of indigenous creative practices, the women musical poets of Dakar work according to a various series of perspectives, exigencies, and skills to bring resources into their communities. Their projects overlap in a formation I call a body in sound: a space of resistance, struggle, creativity, and possibility that manifests the life force of African futurity.