"Mamabies" among the Afro-Baloch community: Social status and cultural heritage of a low caste community in Iran
Proposed project is about songs sung by women for women during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. I will call these songs "mamabies". Mamabies are recited in the Afro-Baloch community along the coast in south-eastern Iran (Afro-Baloch refers to people in Iran of African origin who adopted the Balochi language). Unlike lullabies, mamabies are only attested in the Afro-Baloch community. No research has been done on this tradition. They represent a highly threatened part of the cultural heritage of the Afro-Baloch communities. The aim of the project is to systematically digitize and analyse the form and contents of the songs for the first time. Their documentation and textual as well as contextual analysis will open important perspectives onto linguistic and cultural dynamics in this region. I intend to verify the hypothesis that this tradition along with spirit-possession beliefs and healing ceremonies is of African Origin. In the first two years, field data will be collected, digitized, transcribed, translated and archived (stage 1). The transcription and translation of these songs will enable us to analyse their content, particularly their themes and motifs (stage 2). In the last year, the results will be published in the form of a book and in articles. According to the principles of "Open Science", the collected data will be made freely available in the ELDP archive (stage 3).