In Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique by Paolo IsraelIn Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique by Paolo Israel

In Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique

byPaolo Israel

Paperback | June 15, 2014

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The helmet-shaped mapiko masks of Mozam­bique have garnered admiration from African art scholars and collectors alike, due to their striking aesthetics and their grotesque allure. This book restores to mapiko its historic and artistic context, charting in detail the transformations of this masquerading tradition throughout the twentieth century.

Based on field research spanning seven years, this study shows how mapiko has undergone continuous reinvention by visionary individuals, has diversified into genres with broad generational appeal, and has enacted historical events and political engagements. This dense history of creativity and change has been sustained by a culture of competition deeply ingrained within the logic of ritual itself. The desire to outshine rivals on the dance ground drives performers to search for the new, the astonishing, and the topical. It is this spirit of rivalry and one-upmanship that keeps mapiko attuned to the times that it traverses.

In Step with the Times is illustrated with vibrant photographs of mapiko masks and performances. It marks the most radical attempt to date to historicize an African performative tradition.

Paolo Israel is a senior lecturer in history at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He has written extensively about Mozambican expressive cultures, political ethnicity, and witchcraft.
Title:In Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of MozambiqueFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:June 15, 2014Publisher:Ohio University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0821420887

ISBN - 13:9780821420881

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Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Note on Language
  • Introduction: Rhythms of Change
  • Part One
    • Chapter 1: The War of Sexes
      The Colonial Library and Its Afterlife
    • Chapter 2: Passage, Secrecy, Rivalry
      An Excursion into Anthropological Theory
  • Part Two
    Cosmopolitanism (1917–62)
    • Chapter 3: Meat Is Meat
      Modernism in the Aftermath of Slavery
    • Chapter 4: Masters of Play
      Late-Colonial Aesthetics and Practice
    • Chapter 5: Lowland Nights
      Ambivalence in the Face of Death
    • Chapter 6: Migrant Tunes
      On the Threshold of Nationalism
  • Part Three
    Revolution (1962–92)
    • Chapter 7: Ten Years of War
      Shaping the People
    • Chapter 8: Youth Power
      Villages, Festivals, and Rivals
    • Chapter 9: Faceless Spirits
      The Rise and Fall of Feminist Masquerades
  • Part Four
    After Socialism (1992–2009)
    • Chapter 10: Don’t Go Astray
      Democracy and Disorder
    • Chapter 11: Puppets and Machetes
      Boys in a Wild World
  • Epilogue: Resurrections
  • Notes
  • Glossary of Shimakonde Terms
  • Mapiko Genres and Other Dance Genres
  • Makonde Drums and Other Musical Instruments
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Editorial Reviews

“In this beautifully crafted analysis of mapiko performances, Paolo Israel interweaves the history of Mozambique with close readings of hundreds of song lyrics and detailed microhistories of events and individuals that gave rise to this performance tradition. … Those interested in how and why performance matters will find much of value in this superb text and accompanying video and audio materials on the companion website.”—Journal of African History