Kara Ellis Skora

Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer in African and Diasporan Religions
Arts and Sciences
Religious Studies
UVA Email
African and Diasporan Religions
Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton

I research the religious culture surround death among the Asante people of Ghana. I wrote my dissertation on this, especially how Asante, who are largely devoted Christians, continue to mourn through historic means that have always, it turns out, be the way to synthesize change in their society. These rites that help everyone, including the deceased, respond to the death and then to transition beyond it, depend on artistic means of expression, making the loss meaningful. Dance movements, cloth design, pageantry and orature all allow Asante people to express themselves, not only as individuals, families, and as a people, but always as confident participants in our modern world. I have found that Asante funerary rites are the central arena for the synthesis of ever-changing, worldly identities, values, attitudes, technologies and all else that contributes to their lives, tying their past to their present and future.