lisa monaghan

McMahon (2005). Dancing DiDinga with the Lost Boys of Southern Sudan

In folklore studies, there is a dearth of information about the transnational processes by which diasporic communities actively negotiate their identities. In this article, I examine the variables that affect the cultural performances of the DiDinga, an understudied group of southern Sudanese refugees, known in the United States by the moniker "The Lost Boys." In today's world of globalization and transnationalism, documentation and interpretation of recontextualized performances is more critical than ever before. Part of this inquiry seeks to make explicit the tensions that affect ways by which this small group of parentless male youth come to consensus about appropriate and meaningful traditions performed for the public in a new context. Drawing on public sector work with refugees, I explore how folklore research contributes to identifying internal and external forces that act on the aesthetics of recontextualized performance of diasporic groups, as well as how folklorists work effectively to present and interpret recontextualized traditions of people now residing in the United States.

Category: Anthropology and History, Conflict

Sub-category: Armed Groups/Actors, Children, Regional