Beyond Dance Movement Notation: Field Reflections as Key in Mapping the Ebola Virus Disease Transmission in the Funeral Ceremonies of Sierra Leone

Daniel Ceeline Ramonal



This paper focuses on the critical role that field reflections played in establishing the overlapping engagement of dance movement notation and the sociocultural relevance of embodied techniques in funeral ceremonies to the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone. Expanding from the research paper entitled “Ebola and Moving People: Understanding the Role of Embodied Techniques in Funeral Ceremonies to the Chain of Transmission of the Ebola Virus in Sierra Leone Through Movement Analysis,” this paper narrates personal field experiences and realizations on the dynamics happening in the social field that clarified how funeral ceremonies were equally responsible in impeding and spreading the Ebola virus. On this note, this paper emphasizes the significance of field reflections in demonstrating the methodological and analytical principles of dance anthropology which helped people realize that cultural practices like funeral ceremonies were not causes, but were mere conduits of mobility for the Ebola virus. Field reflections then provide an understanding of the “human factor” that makes Ebola’s chain of transmission in the eyes of the local communities easier to understand. This realization abetted the “stop” of this transmission when state protocols were re-evaluated to accommodate cultural findings in the latter part of the humanitarian assistance. This paper uses ethnographic inquiry in sharing the experiences and realizations in the fieldwork sites of Freetown, Port Loko, and Koinadugu in Sierra Leone. The reflections were extracted from observation sessions, interviews, informal dialogues, and focus group discussions in the field.


dance movement notation, Ebola, field reflections, funeral, Sierra Leone

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)