Face masks as freedom and belonging

By Quirina Geijsen Face masks, you can see them everywhere now. They come in different shapes and sizes and are offered in multiple choices of the most beautiful and fashionable patterns. Wearing non-medical face masks is not something new. They were ahead of COVID-19, gaining popularity in hip-hop culture. Especially, at local hip-hop festival Woo Hah!, they represent a sense of fashion, of togetherness and a feeling of ultimate freedom. There, participants of the festival wore face masks for both fashionable as practical reasons. Wearing Face masks in a fashionable sense at hip-hop events probably started with two American rappers …

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Dancing to the State: Ethnic Compulsions of the Tangsa in Assam

By Meenaxi Barkataki-Ruscheweyh            Let me begin by telling you a little bit about myself, the region and the people — the Tangsa — with whom I worked and some of the questions that I explored. Although I live in Germany now, I am Indian, more specifically an Assamese from the state of Assam in northeast India. Northeast India is a region which is geographically (and according to many, also emotionally) remote from the national capital at New Delhi. Separated from the rest of India except at a corridor, not much more than 20 kms at its narrowest, this region is …

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"I belong in Africa": African-Americans going ‘home’

By Marije Maliepaard        The Ghanaian ethnic group of Akan is (among other aspects) known for their Adinkra symbols. Symbols that represent concepts and are often connected to proverbs. They are used in African fabrics, clothes and pottery and nowadays also in logo’s, advertisements and wall paintings. One of their symbols of a bird stretching back to get an egg, named Sankofa, has become an important representation for Africans in the diaspora. The combination of the symbol and the associated proverb ‘se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi’, which translates to ‘it is not wrong to go …

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