Research Question

The steel pan is an object that currently holds much importance in the Caribbean culture and is an instrument that was made out of innovation and curiosity. As stated previously in my historical analysis of the object, the working class developed the steel pan during carnival time. Since then it gained popular attention and ultimately ended up becoming a national symbol for the country of Trinidad and Tobago. What I intend on researching further and honing in on is the process of becoming a national identity. What makes an object an identity, and how can an object attach a national identity to a person who doesn’t own it nor knows how to play it. This is interesting to me for research purposes because although the instrument is nationally accepted, what kinds of processes did it go through to gain this recognition and what stages does an object have to go through in order to obtain such a designation.

This object was seen as a way to express oneself and was used by the lower class, so I also want to key in on the transition of the steel pan not only as an identity, but the steel pan as a socioeconomic symbol and how it helped to drive cohesiveness for a nation. This is an instrument that has changed hands since its inception and I am going to not only follow it through time, but also demonstrate how changes in time and status created a diasporic culture of music from one instrument. However, my main focus for this piece will be how an object can forge a national identity and the implications that must be considered throughout this process.

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By shaunpoon

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