A Professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, Prof. Luis Nicolau ParÃ©s, has delivered a Lecture as part of the University of Cape Coast Occasional Lecture Series instituted, 18th January, 2010 in the Academic Board Chamber.
It was on the Topic "African Nations and Ethnic Identity in the Mina Coast and Brazil: An Atlantic comparative perspective".
The lecture examined in a comparative way, the formation of collective identities during the slave trade period in both West Africa and Brazil, trying to understand their significance today. It argued that the process of classification of culturally heterogeneous groups under generic categories were a dynamic that replicated throughout the Atlantic perimeter and that this phenomenon favoured a system of multi-layered forms of identification.
Prof. Luis Nicolau contended that both in Africa and the Americas, the creation of bonding collective identities, ethnic, or otherwise engaged a complex system of vectors including language, kingship, narrative of origin, ancestrality and religious ritual. Yet, according to him, while in the Diaspora the linguistic and religious nationalism was paramount, in the West African context, ethnicity seems to have operated in a dialectic way with alternative forms of territorial nationalism.The lecture also highlighted how the study of ethnic identification in pre-colonial West African could greatly benefit from an Atlantic comparative perspective.
The speaker however singled out the conformable religious system of the Afro-Brazilians as a point of focus.
In her closing remarks, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang who chaired the function expressed appreciation for the Lecture and challenged young researchers of the University to venture into such areas to further unearth the rich culture of the African people.
Present at the function were Deans of Faculty and School, heads of department, lecturers, as well as students.