1. Based on what you've read, what contextual information must your group necessarily communicate to the class in order to help us better understand the theatrical material you plan to discuss.
Yoruban history is based in oral tradition and myth. Its relevance to the people is portrayed through the ritual performances. However, these performances adapt to the changing of times in order to survive. The main elements of rituals are kept, but in order to maintain importance in the culture, they must adapt. Historiography in the sense become difficult. We must remember that the changes are not always noted. Thus we must look at what was kept in the tradition, and what was erased.
Ritual for the Yoruba is based in the theme of a journey. Drewal states, "The journey evokes the reflexive, progressive, transformative experience of ritual participation." The Egungun ritual is a performance ritual in honor of ancestral spirits. It forms a connection with the spiritual world to bring the surreal and unseen into reality.
2. How does your topic express the philosophies, ideologies, political circumstances, and/or social movements occurring in the specific time and place you are investigating?
There is a relationship between politics and ritual performance.
Time is a difficult focus for this topic. Because much of the history is based in oral tradition there is little factual consensus. Instead we are focusing on how and why the Egungun ritual has remained within the context of the Yoruba society.
The ritual portrays the importance of ancestral reverence and a cyclical connection between past, present, and future. It has survived due to its adaptability.
3. Given that you only have 20 minutes to present, what big ideas/contextual elements will you have to leave out?
Because we are focusing on one ritual, we will have to leave out other rituals that are inherent in daily life. In addition, because our topic is non-Western, we must spend adequate time expanding and shaping our Western lens.