Dr. Meintjes will speak about how a rural community celebrates the male body through Zulu ngoma song and dance even in the difficult context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When confronted with diminishing capacities that represent a compromised social life -- whether of individual relationships or of a men's ngoma song and dance team -- how do men perform their responsibilities to other men? How do singer-dancers manage the necessity of caring for their fellow teammates in the presence of HIV stigma that pushes their relationships to the limit? Drawing on her extensive ethnographic research in South Africa, this case study, Dr. Meintjes will reflect on Africanist analyses of the performance arts in relation to HIV/AIDS and on the value of song and dance in times when people encounter the unspeakable.
Dr. Meintjes is an Associate Professor of Music and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and author of Sound of Africa! Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio (Duke University Press, 2003), a groundbreaking urban ethnography of a recording studio in Johannesburg in the early 1990s. She has recently co-written three review articles on sound, the senses, and ethnomusicology (with Ana Maria Ochoa, Tom Porcello and David Samuels), and is currently working on an ethnography of the aesthetics and politics of migrant Zulu men's song and dance in the post apartheid era. Dr. Meintjes garnered much attention in the 1990s for her article on “Paul Simon’s Graceland, South Africa, and the Mediation of Musical Meaning,” and received the prestigious 2005 Jaap Kunst Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology for her article “Shoot the Sergeant, Shatter the Mountain: The Production of Masculinity in Zulu ngoma song and dance in post-Apartheid South Africa” (2004).
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