DR. SUSAN JANE RASMUSSEN, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2006, to aid research on 'Performance, Modernity, and Memory in Contemporary Tuareg Theater and Acting in Northern Mali.' This research examined theatrical performances, actors, and acting in semi-nomadic, Islamic, traditionally-stratified, Tamajaq-speaking communities of Tuareg in Kidal, northern Mali. The study focused upon dramas and satires popularly called by the French term, 'des' ('sketches,'denoting approximately 'plays') and performers known in Tamajaq as 'kel setsegh'('people of jokes and play') and 'ibaradan'('the brave ones'), thereby revealing acting and theater as simultaneously entertaining, provocative, and protective, in local viewpoint. Many of these performances are locally classified as modern; thus this study also explored the meaning of modernity in the poetics (aesthetics) and politics (power) of these performances. These performances merge longstanding and changing verbal art traditions; thus this study also explored actors' roles in the creative re-fashioning of collective memory. Performances and actors respond to wider historical and sociopolitical dynamics within these communities, as well as mediate relationships between these communities, NGO's, and the nation state, as local residents return from exile and refugee flight, and recover from droughts and political violence of the 1990-1996 Tuareg nationalist/separatist rebellion. Theatrical performance thus emerges as a means of healing, in helping actors and audiences alike cope with change.
Rasmussen, Susan J. 2010. The Slippery Sign: Cultural Constructions of Youth and Youthful Constructions of Culture in Tuareg Men's Face-Veiling. Journal of Anthropological Research 66(4):463-484.
Rasmussen, Susan J. 2008. The People of Solitude: Recalling and Reinventing Essuf (the Wild) in Traditional and Emergent Tuareg Cultural Spaces. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14(3):609-627
Rasmussen, Susan J. 2008. Re-Formations of the Sacred, the Secular, and Modernity: Nuances of Religious Experience among the Tuareg (Kel Tamajaq). Ethnology 46(3):185-203
Rasmussen, Susan, 2007. Anthropological Knowledge and Local Cultural Theory: Reformulating the Anthropological Subject through Tuareg (Tamajaq) Spatial and Temporal Concepts. International Journal of the Humanities 4 (7): 127-134.
Rasmussen, Susan J. 2006. Those Who Touch: Tuareg Medicine Women in Anthropological Perspective.
Northern Illinois University Press: DeKalb
Rasmussen, Susan. 2006. Moving Beyond Protest in Tuareg Ichumar Musical Performance. Ethnohistory 53 (4): 633-655.
Rasmussen, Susan. 2006. Identity, Difference, and Power: The Social Construction of Tuareg Smiths’ Allegedly Dangerous Tezma Force. Journal of Ritual Studies 21 (1): 41-69.
Rasmussen, Susan. 2006. Revitalizing Shame: Some Reflections on ‘Changing Idioms of Shame: Expressions of Disgrace and Dishonour in the Narratives of Turkish Women Living in Denmark’. Culture & Psychology 13 (2): 231-242.