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Chat to Mi Back: Meditation on body archive

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This article addresses the concept Body as Archive in the context of contemporary Jamaica, a nation simultaneously grounded in Christian Religiosity and rooted in African Cosmology. Body as Archive is identified here as an understanding of the body that recognizes bodily artefacts as stored in individual and collective bodies for future generations to excavate, critically interrogate, re-craft and/or restore and deploy in the fashioning of present-day individual and community identities, life possibilities and future world imaginings. At its core Body as Archive is the work of the imagination to manifest the body as both archive and artefact, both a space for the collection and recording of historical memory and remembrance and itself an expression of memory and re-membrance. In contemporary Jamaica Body as Archive encompasses notions of beauty, the role of dance, and the significance of performance around and about the Jamaican female body. Embedded in this current exploration is an interrogation of the ways in which the bio-political imagination of past generations inform the excavation and deployment of bodily artefacts in the present.
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Keywords: Body as Archive; Christianity; Dancehall; bio-political imagination; body as artefact; community; dancing body

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Columbia University

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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