Katleho Kano Shoro

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10727

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Shoro, Katleho (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Litema and Bambosle: Grasping at a Beyond-colonial African Aesthetic Philosophy Through Women's Creative Practices and Embodied Knowledges"

What kind of philosophies of aesthetics and personhood lay dormant when the creative, embodied practices and knowledge of Black, African women are invisibilized? Could research focused on litema and bambolse: seemingly similar, multisensorial, women-dominated practices existing in Lesotho-South Africa and Ghana-Burkina Faso for at least six centuries – give us insight into these philosophies? If philosophical threads can be drawn across these disparate countries and regions through these practices, could a broader, beyond-colonial philosophy of African aesthetics be attainable, too? This project is multi-sited and multimodal ethnographic and aims to grapple with these questions by examining litema and bambolse and taking seriously the kinds of embodied and conceptual knowledge that undergird the practices. This project further grapples with the possibility of understanding these practices – named “mural arts” in academia – in ways not overdetermined by colonial logics. Fundamental to the question of whether an African aesthetic philosophy exists is the understanding that valuations of art and aesthetics have implications for the ways that objects, people and anthropological knowledge are understood and ordered. Thus, what is at stake is not simply the philosophies of the practices but the conceptualizing of humanness.