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Listening for (Post)colonial Entanglements

Listening for (Post)colonial Entanglements

(p.1) Introduction Listening for (Post)colonial Entanglements
Creolized Aurality
Jérôme Camal
University of Chicago Press

What does it mean for gwoka to be political? Over forty years of cultural nationalism have constructed gwoka–Guadeloupe's secular drumming tradition–as a symbol of resistance. Yet gwoka has never existed outside of the French imperial state. Indeed, Guadeloupe, which was colonized by France in 1635, chose to decolonize in 1946 by politically integrating into the French republic rather than seeking independence. Within the non-sovereign nation, then, gwoka should not be reduced to a music of resistance; rather it participates in a creolized aurality. This introduction defines creolized auralities as sonic fields of (mis)appropriation, destabilizing performances, and ambiguous listening. Creolized auralities are animated by longings and poetics that have been shaped by the long history of European colonialism and the modern pressures of neoliberal globalization. They play on their opacity and participate in what Edouard Glissant has defined as the d賯‎ur. Understood as participating in a creolized aurality, the “audible entanglements” of contemporary gwoka offer the sonic traces of an Antillean experience of (post)coloniality that cannot be reduced to tropes of escape and overcoming but is instead characterized by constant engagement and negotiation, by strategic embrace and disavowal, by fleeing and homing the (post)colonial state.

Keywords:   sovereignty, postcolonialism, creolization, aurality, detour, opacity, Glissant

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