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Frances J. Santiago

a sociolinguist specializing in ethnology and the study of the Creole language, was also a devout Guadeloupean wife, mother, and grandmother. She was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, on 7 April 1935. She was the granddaughter of a plantation owner in Guadeloupe, and her father married a mulâtresse who was an agricultural worker on his father’s plantation. Bébel-Gisler has said that her education stemmed from the paternal heritage, yet her rich cultural background and the imagination it cultivated stem directly from her mother’s humble origins.

As an adolescent Bébel Gisler was sent to France for her high school education In France she studied in Toulouse where she prepared for admission to college studies Demonstrating her great talent in French she was the only student to receive the Prix Spécial de Français which brought with it a grant that gave her access to the Grandes Écoles prestigious higher education establishments in ...

Article

Diana Álvarez Amell

was born on 20 May 1900 in Havana into a wealthy and influential family of European descent. Her mother was the socialite Elisa Marcaida Casanova, and her father, Raimundo Cabrera Bosch, a prominent intellectual within the country’s political and literary circles. Cabrera became known for her literary work and her studies in anthropology dedicated to Afro-Cuban culture. As a young woman, she wrote articles for local newspapers. She studied art in Paris from 1927 to 1930 at École du Louvre. Though she was not of African ancestry, her interest in Afro-Cuban religions and traditions was sparked when studying Asian religions in Paris. While she was living in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, there was a surge of interest in African cultures within Europe. Cabrera later stated that she discovered Cuba in France.

She originally started to write short stories to amuse her close friend the Venezuelan novelist Teresa Parra ...

Article

Amber B. Gemmeke

, Senegalese filmmaker and ethnologist, was born on 22 November 1943 in Fad’jal, Senegal, a small Serer village about sixty-two miles (hundred kilometers) south of Dakar, in the Sine-Saloum region. Safi Faye is the second of her mother’s seven children. Her father was a polygamous businessman and village chief, and Faye had thirteen half-brothers and half-sisters as well. Safi Faye attended primary school in Dakar and obtained her teacher’s certificate at the Normal School of Rufisque through a state contract in 1962. She worked as a schoolteacher in Dakar from 1963 until 1969. In 1966 she met Jean Rouch, the French ethnographic filmmaker and a father of cinema verité, at the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Cultures (FESTAC), in Dakar. Subsequently, she had a role in Rouch’s 1968 film Petit à petit: lettres persanes Little by Little Persian Letters Although Safi Faye ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Safi Faye is not only one of the few independent African women film directors, but also one of the few who make ethnographic films, which document cultures. Born near Dakar, Senegal, the daughter of a village chief and businessman of Serer origin, Faye moved to Dakar at the age of nineteen to become a teacher. There she became interested in the uses of film in education and ethnology, the study of ethnic groups and their cultures. Upon meeting French filmmaker and ethnologist Jean Rouche, Faye embarked on a film career.

Faye acted in Rouche’s Petit à petit ou les lettres persanes (1968). She learned about Rouche’s style of cinéma-vérité, characterized by an unobtrusive camera and spontaneous nonprofessional acting, which influenced her own film work. With Rouche’s encouragement she moved to Paris in 1972 enrolling in the École Pratique des Hautes Études to study ethnology and in the ...

Article

Mildred Mortimer

Algerian novelist, essayist, and ethnologist, was born on 28 December 1917, in Taourirt-Mimoun, Algeria. A native of the mountainous region of Kabylia, where Amazigh (Berber) culture and language persists, he brought the Berbers of Kabylia into Algerian fiction, beginning in the 1950s. In addition to publishing fiction, he taught courses in Tamazight (the Berber language) and Amazigh culture at the University of Algiers, and translated Tamazight poetry into French. In addition to his fictional work—novels, plays, and short stories—he published a Tamazight grammar as well as two anthologies of poetry that he translated from Tamazight into French. A posthumous collection of essays, Culture Savante, Culture Vécue: Études 1938–1989 (Learned Culture, Lived Culture: Studies 1938–1989), appeared in 1991.

At a time when Algerian Arabs and Berbers did not have many educational opportunities Mammeri received a unique education After completing primary school in his native village where his father ...

Article

Alan West

Fernando Ortiz's intellectual legacy is one of astonishing breadth and erudition. Cuban scholar Juan Marinello has likened him to a third discoverer of Cuba, after Columbus and Humboldt. A Cuban-American critic has called him “Mr. Cuba.” The claim is no exaggeration: he is one of a great line of Caribbean intellectual figures such as Eugenio María de Hostos, José Martí, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Frantz Fanon, and C. L. R. James.

Along with the work of Lydia Cabrera Ortiz s seminal works deal with the African traditions that have uniquely shaped the identity of Cuban music religion society and culture His major theoretical contribution is in coining the concept of transculturation a term used to describe the rich textured and sometimes bloody encounter between two or more cultures that mutually transforms them It provides a refined framework for understanding the complexity ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

Lorenzo Dow Turner received a bachelor's degree from Howard University in 1914, a master's degree from Harvard University in 1917, and a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1926 He taught English at several black colleges and initially became interested in linguistics after hearing the ...