Parallel Lives and Intertwined Narrations. Identitary Paths Between Life History and Historical Processes


In this article the author reflects on how to textualize the life history of a Senegalese artist of a griot family (Badara Seck) who actually resides in Rome, without forcing the data into a different conception of being a person. First, there is an exploration of the nexus between the self’s conception, genealogy and history, which emerge from Badara’s words and which are widespread among some Wolof speakers. Second, the author approaches the life history and the genealogical narrative and constructs an organization of particular materials to reflect on the ways in which some historical processes- the changes in griot way of life from the pre-colonial to the postcolonial period and the migration from Senegal- and joined rhetoric- the public presentation of the self, widespread among some Wolof- are diffracted through a life’s story. Finally, an epistemological reflection is presented on the life history as a metaphor for the cognitive process in anthropology (and not only), considered as a spiral movement between literary imagination and scientific rigor. 

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