A CIRCULAR LINEAGE: THE BAKONGO COSMOGRAM AND THE RING SHOUT OF THE ENSLAVED AFRICANS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS ON THE GEORGIAN AND SOUTH CAROLINIAN SEA ISLANDS
ABSTRACT There is significant literature in the area of Africana Studies describing 'the ring shout'. However, the ring shout is not usually the primary focus. My thesis investigates the ring shout as a cultural legacy between the culture of Blacks in North America-or African Americans for purposes of this research-and Kongolese culture. It demonstrates the ways in which the ring shout of enslaved Africans and their descendants on the Georgian and South Carolinian Sea Islands not only parallels the Bakongo cosmogram, but also embodies it in three-dimensional form. The methods used include an analysis of the Bakongo culture from the Central Western coast of Africa. I use primary and secondary, anthropological, and historical sources to understand the Kongolese persistence-specifically that of the Bakongo cosmogram-in the ring shout of the Georgian and South Carolinian Sea Islanders. Shout songs and shouting will also be used as archival devices to understand how different elements such as spirituality and memory existed within the ring shout. In addition, personal accounts of the ring shout from past and present sources are used to enrich the understanding. These analyses will serve to expand what is already known about which elements from the Bakongo culture were retained and which elements were reinterpreted in the enslaved Africans' and their descendants' ring shout.
Cosmogram; Ring shout
dissertation or thesis