Canoe Culture and Heritage in Ghana

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Canoes are at once expressions of continuity and change within coastal cultures. Longstanding representations of adaptive maritime cultures, canoes have been altered and transformed to not only weather social, economic, and technological shifts but also to absorb and thrive over periods of change. Far from inanimate vessels used solely for economic gain, canoes are expressions of the social, emotional, and spiritual worlds of canoe users and their communities. In Ghana, this is conveyed in the pictograms, names, inscriptions, and paintworks that adorn canoe hulls as well as in the communal associations and festivals in which canoes are fundamental artefacts. Focusing on Ghana, each participant will draw on their distinctive research perspectives to consider different aspects of canoe culture and heritage. Collectively, these characteristics exhibit the deep emotional engagement with the sea that coastal communities and those who derive their livelihoods from the sea often hold, and which centres on the deep integration of marine and terrestrial spaces across the aquapelago.

Jun 9, 2021 12:00 PM in Greenwich Mean Time

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Panel members and topics:

1. Dr. Georgina Yaa Oduro, the University of Cape Coast– Exploring Heritage and Livelihoods with examples from Canoe inscriptions and festivals in Coastal Ghana

2. Dr. David Wilson, the University of Strathclyde – Controlling the Littoral: Canoes, livelihoods, and adaptations in precolonial and colonial Ghana

3. Dr. John Ansah, the University of Cape Coast – Asafo companies and canoe-related fisheries management in Ghana

4. Prof. Rose Boswell, Nelson Mandela University – Locality, Identity and Livelihood: How ‘aquapelagos’ may shift concepts of terraqueous territory and intangible heritage

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