Berber Culture on the World Stage

Berber Culture on the World Stage

From Village to Video
Jane E. Goodman
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/12/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-11145-6
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“[S]ure to interest a number of different audiences, from language and music scholars to specialists on North Africa. . . . a superb book, clearly written, analytically incisive, about very important issues that have not been described elsewhere.” —John Bowen, Washington University

In this nuanced study of the performance of cultural identity, Jane E. Goodman travels from contemporary Kabyle Berber communities in Algeria and France to the colonial archives, identifying the products, performances, and media through which Berber identity has developed. In the 1990s, with a major Islamist insurgency underway in Algeria, Berber cultural associations created performance forms that challenged Islamist premises while critiquing their own village practices. Goodman describes the phenomenon of new Kabyle song, a form of world music that transformed village songs for global audiences. She follows new songs as they move from their producers to the copyright agency to the Parisian stage, highlighting the networks of circulation and exchange through which Berbers have achieved global visibility.

Author Bio

Jane E. Goodman is Assistant Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University. While training to become a cultural anthropologist, she performed with the women’s world music group Libana.


". . . This astute and well-written book is essential reading not only for scholars and students of the Middle East and North Africa but also for anyone interested in how history and aesthetic forms combine to create heritage and cultural identity in the public sphere. . ." —American Anthropologist

". . . Jane Goodman's Berber Culture on the World Stage: From Village to Video is an absolute gem. Her ability to untangle and articulate complex webs of interaction and levels of meaning is quite impressive. Goodman seamlessly balances the ethnographic with the theoretical, her prose effortlessly flowing from examples to the theories that they demonstrate. The distribution of the book's three sections, moving from history to text to performance, makes the work applicable in a number of classroom settings. Goodman's framework reflects the value of interdisciplinary research, giving readers a better understanding of her subject matter and providing them with intellectual tools with which to analyze and perceive their own academic and personal situations." —Journal of Folklore Research

". . . a most welcome addition to North African scholarship. . . . Such beautifully written depictions of cultural performances within cultural performances make 'Berber Culture on the World Stage' not only a provocative ethnography but also a compelling addition to the classroom, sure to captivate undergraduates through advanced scholars." —Paul A. Silverstein, Reed College, INTNL JRNL MID EAST STD - IJMES , Vol. 41 2009

"Goodman displays a deep grasp of the historical dynamics and local, national, as well as global political and social transformations of Kabyle culture and music. . . .
Berber Culture on the World Stage is a valuable source for students and scholars of anthropology, North African studies, and ethnomusicology." —Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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Table of Contents

Note on Orthography and Translation
Part I. Circuits
1. The Berber Spring
2. Refracting Berber Identities
3. The Mythical Village
Part II. Texts
4. Collecting Poems
5. Authoring Modernity
6. Copyright Matters
Part III. Performances
7. Staging Gender
8. Village to Video
Works Cited