What's Happening at The Griot Institute
Arts. Everywhere. Festival
Griot Institute Annual Opening Event
Soul in Motion: African Dance and Drum Troupe
Saturday, August 31, 2013, noon to 1:00 p.m. on the Science Quad (rain location: Bucknell Hall)
The Griot Institute for Africana Studies, along with Multicultural Student Services, welcomes the campus community to celebrate the beginning of the fall semester with our annual presentation of the finest performers of African dance and drumming. This year's performers are Maryland's Soul in Motion. Soul in Motion is an energetic thirteen-member company of African dancers and drummers with a mission to share the richness and the experiences of the African-American culture through theatre, dance, and drumming. Their performances are expressions of the African-American experience, highlighting influences from West Africa, Cuba, and Brazil.
The Griot Storytelling Project
The term griot derives from several West African cultures. A traditional griot is an interdisciplinary storyteller-at once poet, artist, historian, sociologist, and musician. Bucknell's Griot Institute for Africana Studies takes as a metaphor for its central function the characteristics of the griot: interdisciplinarity, narrative as methodology, and history as dynamic process. The symbol of the griot also reminds of the centrality of narrative in constructing human experience and in rendering the nature and subjectivities of a community. By blending technology and tradition, the Bucknell Griot Storytelling Project will allow the institute to add to its many projects the role of functioning as a griot for Bucknell. The project will gather oral narratives created by members of the Bucknell community in order to build a historical record, to encourage creative engagement with the art and utility of oral storytelling, and to showcase the experiential range of our community in an effort to define who we are at this moment in our collective history. The Griot Storytelling project emerges from the creativity of Bucknell faculty who have agreed to create an assignment in their classes that will lead to their students writing, honing, recording, and editing short non-fiction or fictional narratives of about 600 - 800 words. The first iteration of the Storytelling Project will also feature narratives from the This is Me project, a student-derived dramatic project. The finished narratives from the performance and from the classes will be featured on the Griot Institute Storytelling Project webpage and will become part of our storytelling archive, a collection of creative explorations of this community, a dynamic, digital griot. Explore our inaugural chapter of the Storytelling Project here.
The Dancing Mind Challenge
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm or 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It's time to challenge your mind -- to dance.
The Griot Institute for Africana Studies, in partnership with Library and IT, will host the Dancing Mind Challenge this fall. This year's event is planned for October 5, 2013, to coincide with Hamlet's Blackberry author William Powers's visit to Bucknell. Hamlet's Blackberry is the summer reading selection for incoming first-year students. The Dancing Mind Challenge, based on Toni Morrison's reflections in her essay "The Dancing Mind," is an opportunity for Bucknell students, faculty and staff, and community members to "unplug" and read without electronic interruptions or distractions for several consecutive hours - in this case from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm or from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon.
All you have to do to participate is to register and read!
Griot Reading Groups
Don't miss the unique opportunity to encounter works of fiction by diverse authors and to discuss them with an engaged group of students, faculty, and staff. Contact The Griot (email@example.com) to sign up and enjoy our fall selections:
Friday, September 13, 2013
12:00 p.m., The Traditional Reading Room, Bertrand Library
Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh, Thomas Glave
In anticipation of Thomas Glave's reading at Bucknell Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 17, the Griot will sponsor a reading group meeting to discuss his book, Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh.
The New York Review of Books describes Glave's work, saying, "Mr. Glave writes with calm, concentrated anger about the hurt inflicted by ‘the bloodpeople': the people of shared DNA, shared genes and facial likenesses . . . The people of shared surnames that confirm the blood shared between you long after slavery and emancipation . . ."
. . . In other essays, Mr. Glave . . . directly addresses four great authors whose work has been vitally important to him, Nadine Gordimer, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, whom he calls ‘Dear Sir, Dear Father;' and warns ‘against preciousness,' the ‘refusal' of some writers to ‘engage with what, in our violent, glorious, detonating and ever-renewing world, our world of geopolitics and constant scrabbles for power and dominion, so undeniably is."
"No one could ever accuse Thomas Glave of preciousness. He is a fearless truth-teller whose essays in Among the Bloodpeople are fully, unhesitatingly engaged with his and our world." - George De Stefano
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
12:00 p.m., The Traditional Reading Room, Bertrand Library
The Book of Night Women, Marlon James
"A true triumph of voice and storytelling, The Book of Night Women rings with both profound authenticity and a distinctly contemporary energy. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they- and she-will come to both revere and fear. The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings, desires, and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman, and risks becoming the conspiracy's weak link. But the real revelation of the book-the secret to the stirring imagery and insistent prose-is Marlon James himself, a young writer at once breathtakingly daring and wholly in command of his craft." - Amazon.com
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
12:00 p.m., Willard Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building
Open City: A Novel, Teju Cole
"Nigerian immigrant Julius, a young graduate student studying psychiatry in New York City, has recently broken up with his girlfriend and spends most of his time dreamily walking around Manhattan. The majority of Open City centers on Julius' inner thoughts as he rambles throughout the city, painting scenes of both what occurs around him and past events that he can't help but dwell on. For reasons not altogether clear, Julius' walks turn into worldwide travel, and he flies first to Europe, where he has an unplanned one-night stand and makes some interesting friends, then to Nigeria, and finally back to New York City. Along the way, he meets many people and often has long discussions with them about philosophy and politics. Brought up in a military school, he seems to welcome these conversations. Upon returning to New York, he meets a young Nigerian woman who profoundly changes the way he sees himself. Readers who enjoy stream-of-consciousness narratives and fiction infused with politics will find this unique and pensive book a charming read." - Julie Hunt, Booklist
Griot Project Book Series
Venus of Khalakanti (first English translation) by Angele Kingue
Post-Racial America? edited collection
Click here to learn more about the Griot Project Book Series.
Griot Jonestown Series Recordings
All of the lectures in the Griot Jonestown Series from the fall of 2013 are available on-line to view and/or for classroom use.