Mayidi Grand Seminary in Bas-Congo (Kongo Central).
About Dr. Covington-Ward
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” -Zora Neale Hurston
Dr. Yolanda Denise Covington-Ward is a Cultural Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, with affiliations with the Department of anthropology, Women’s and African Studies Programs, and the Global Studies Center.
Africanist Anthropology, Performance, Bodies
Dr. Covington-Ward’s primary research site is the Democratic Republic of Congo, with recent evolving research projects among Liberian communities in the United States. Overall, she is interested in the relationship between social interactions and physical bodies, and how this impacts identities, access to power, and even health. Read More >
Dr. Covington-Ward to Present at Women's Studies Works-in-Progress Session
Dr. Covington-Ward will be presenting her paper entitled “Blood, Belief, Bodies: Gender and the Routinization of Spiritual Power in a Kongo Church" at the Works-in-Progress Session for Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh on November 15, 2013.View All Events >
Transforming Communities, Recreating Selves: Interconnected Diasporas, Performance, and the Shaping of Liberian Identity
This paper examines the role of European ballroom dances such as the grand march in the shaping of group identity, both in Liberia and for Liberians in the United States. I use participant-observation, interviews, and historical documentation to trace transformations in the grand march from the performance of an exclusive, educated Americo-Liberian elite in the nineteenth century to a more inclusive practice, open to Liberians of all backgrounds who immigrated to the United States in the twentieth century. In both cases of these interconnected diasporas, collective performance is used reflexively, to perform group identity for others, and transformatively, to redefine the group itself. This study suggests the need for further attention to performance in studies of ethnic group identity formation.