Gullah Voices: Bridging Cultures through the Arts and the Oral tradition: Bridging Cultures throught the Arts and Oral Tradition

By Robert Stephens and Mary Ellen Junda.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 14, 2014 $US5.00

The artistic expressions of the Gullah cover a vast range of endeavors that deal with perceptions of the past recalled through a collective cultural memory. As defined here, cultural memory refers to the relationship between what people create and how they unlock and rediscover these creative expressions in cultural practices over time. Music, art, and storytelling articulate the joys, taboos, fears, and perseverance in their daily lives. These art forms allow community members to constantly define and reinvent communities and relationships.

This paper examines the social factors of music, art, and storytelling, and their effects on qualities of appreciation. Critical to this examination is an understanding the differences in migration patterns, demographics, and lifestyles for European Americans and African Americans, and how these histories are documented. America’s European heritage is passed on via the written tradition, while the Gullah provide a living and ongoing account of their history through an oral tradition. Because of social circumstances and the European preference for the written word, the creative history of Gullah has not received just attention. A primary goal of this paper is to present the equal worth of oral and written traditions for acquiring information.

Keywords: Critical Cultural Studies, Oral, Written, Traditions, Gullah

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.63-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 14, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 385.376KB)).

Dr. Robert Stephens

Professor of Music, Department of Music, School Fine Arts, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA

Dr. Mary Ellen Junda

Professor of Music, Department of Music, School of Fine Arts, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA