Lauren Miller Griffith, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Texas Tech University. She studies performance and tourism in Latin America and the U.S. Specifically, she focuses on the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira and how non-Brazilian practitioners use travel to Brazil to increase their legitimacy within this genre. Her work on capoeira has been published in Annals of Tourism Research, the Journal of Sport and Tourism, and Theatre Annual, and she is the author of In Search of Legitimacy: How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition [Berghahn Books 2016]. Her second book, titled Apprenticeship Pilgrimage (w/ Jonathan S. Marion), was published in January of 2018 [Lexington Books]. Dr. Griffith’s newest work is on the relationship between globalized art forms and locally focused civic engagement.
As vaccines become more readily available and more people worldwide begin resuming ‘normal’ activities, it is a good time to reflect on the taken-for-granted aspects of ‘normal’ life. Martial arts communities are not exempt from the racism, discrimination, and inequalities that have long plagued social life. This is a good time to challenge the practices that contribute to such injustices. It is also a good time to think about what aspects of life under lockdown might be worth carrying into the future. Facing this pandemic has given rise to many innovations and acts of compassion that are worth continuing.