Bina Brody

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9893

Approve Date

October 25, 2019

Project Title

Brody, Bina (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Competing voices: Subversive songs and the unraveling of traditional gender hierarchies in Senegalese wrestling competitions"

Since its inception in 1994, the national wrestling organization of Senegal has turned a traditional practice into a commercialized, professional sport (termed Lámb). Lámb brings together the numerous ethnic groups in the country in a tradition-turned-sport of national significance. Much of the underlying tensions of gender roles in Senegal are articulated in musical performances by female griottes and male drummers during Lámb matches. This project asks: How do participants in Lámb shape public gender roles through vocal strategies, and how are the national and local co-constituted as traditional practice is transformed into commodified sport? To answer this question, this research will undertake a multi-modal analysis of Lámb events, attending to the multiple ways in which gender hierarchies are contested within musical performance. It will employ methodologies from voice studies to elucidate the ways in which speech and music shape one another, asking how they are implicated in broader national questions. Uncovering the gender discourse surrounding Lámb will take into account the transition from rural to urban; from traditional to commercial; and from religious to secular spaces. In so doing, it exposes the ways in which music and language are implemented in negotiations of gender hierarchies in national spaces.