African Traditions in Bahia - Study Abroad Brazil Tours
of the Recôncavo of
Developed by Kenneth Dossar Ph.D.
African Traditions in Bahia
is a cultural history tour of the Recôncavo of Bahia. Developed by
Professor Kenneth Dossar, African Traditions in Salvador Bahia is designed
for individuals and groups interested in the African presence in Brazil
-- particularly Bahia. The programs’ goals are educational and engaging.
All programs are based in the magical city of Salvador with its stunning,
rich, natural beauty, and spiritual energy. From there, the programs move
out into the surrounding region. Study tours are well suited for high school
and college students, researchers, artists, dancers, musicians, and community
Selling African slaves
Brazil has the largest population of African descendants living outside of Africa. Bahia, the cultural capitol of Brazil, was for many years the main entry port for enslaved Africans transported to Brazil. The country has a rich cultural legacy that is rooted in the African traditions brought there during the more than three hundred years of trans-Atlantic slavery. Today, Bahia is a vital center for many contemporary cultural manifestations and political movements created by African Brazilians. Bahia remains a rich and essential repository for African derived cultural practices
African Traditions in Brazil was created by Dr. Kenneth Dossar, an arts consultant and cultural historian, who has collaborated closely with numerous traditional leaders and cultural/arts organizations in developing public programs which explore the common heritage of people of African descent. He has a doctorate in African American Studies from Temple University where he worked as assistant to the renowned Afro-Brazilian scholar Abdias do Nascimento.
Capoeira Master Cobra Mansa (l) and Ken Dossar (r)
Study Abroad In Brazil Study Programs Brazilian Studies Program Brazil
Since 1983, Professor Dossar has traveled to Brazil to research Bahia’s
African heritage. Dr. Dossar has also performed research in the Caribbean,
and Cuba on the continuance of African traditions in music, dance, belief
systems and other cultural practices. He developed, and teaches a variety
of courses in Latin American, African American, and Atlantic World Studies.
Study Abroad Brazil
Ken Dossar (l) with Abdias do Nascimento (r)
His photos of the African Brazilian martial art - Capoeira Angola appear on the Smithsonian CD Capoeira and in John Lewis’ book: Ring of Liberation. His recent solo photographic exhibition entitled “Spiritual Mothers” was presented by the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.
Through the Partners of the Americas and other organizations, he oversaw numerous exchange programs between Brazil and the United States. Professor Dossar consults national cultural arts organizations including the American Museum of Natural History, the Caribbean Culture Center, and Dance Brazil in New York. He works with the Capoeira Foundation, the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, and regional cultural institutions including the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and the Folklife Center. He currently evaluates a variety of cultural programs for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Dr. Dossar is a founding member of the US/Brazil Center for Culture and Education. He has produced an array of public events including film festivals, exhibits, music and dance events, and lecture series. His radio program of African Atlantic music – Under on Sun – aired for seven years on Temple University’s radio network.
Professor Dossar created and directs the Temple in Brazil Study Programs
which takes students from North American universities to study African Culture
and Portuguese in Brazil. He continues to lecture and develop public programs
on the African presence in the Atlantic World.
Symbol of Yoruba Culture
Study tours detail aspects of the multifaceted cultural heritage of Bahia.
The programs focus on traditions coming from West Africa, principally
from the Yoruba; and on those of the BaKongo of West Central Africa. and
explore contemporary manifestations of these traditions. Program participants
examine: resistance movements, spiritual traditions, popular music and
dance, politics, social organizations, and popular festivals.
Bakongo funeral procession in Rio de Janeiro
For full program descriptions,
scheduling and fees, or for information on summer and winter break study
abroad opportunities in Bahia contact Professor Kenneth Dossar at: