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Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics

Akin Adesokan

Publication Year: 2011

What happens when social and political processes such as globalization shape cultural production? Drawing on a range of writers and filmmakers from Africa and elsewhere, Akin Adesokan explores the forces at work in the production and circulation of culture in a globalized world. He tackles problems such as artistic representation in the era of decolonization, the uneven development of aesthetics across the world, and the impact of location and commodity culture on genres, with a distinctive approach that exposes the global processes transforming cultural forms.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: African Expressive Cultures


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pp. xi-xv

Living in Lagos, n igeria, in the early 1980s, I was surrounded by art in all media: music, literature, cinema, television, radio, comic strips, photoplays, and theater, not to mention the unplanned spectacle of the expressive every day and night, the living art of the street itself. It was the heyday of n igeria’s profligate Second Republic, a democracy only in name, and these urban media were ...

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pp. xvii-xix

While working on this book, i benefited from the kind support of many people and i would like to use this occasion to acknowledge the various forms of assistance they provided. My colleagues in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University have been very supportive of my work, and i want to wholeheartedly thank Paul Losensky, Rosemarie McGerr, Angela Pao, Eyal ...

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Introduction: Generic Transformations at the Crossroads of Capital

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pp. 1-29

In 1973, while waiting to complete the film that would be released the following year as Xala, the filmmaker and novelist Ousmane Sembene1 published a novel of the same title. As anyone familiar with the two works knows, there are significant differences between the novel and the film, and the distinct character of each is inseparable from ...

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1. C. L. R. James Sees the World Steadily

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pp. 30-56

... First, I claim that in spite of the diverse artistic, political, and cultural contexts of his literary output (in a career that spanned much of the twentieth century), James developed a style which he used to bring together ideas from different, often conflicting, political impulses and traditions. Second, given his personal and political choices, James’s work represents a promising, though not entirely successful, integration of the two putatively antagonistic processes of socialist tricontinentalism and ...

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2. Fitful Decolonization: Xala and the Poetics of Double Fetishism

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pp. 57-80

Among the films of the late Ousmane Sembene, Xala (1974) has attracted probably the most extensive commentary. It is hard to imagine even a brief commentary or a notice, let alone a full-length essay about the filmmaker, which does not make the film a point of reference, usually seeing it as a decisive instance of his artistic politics, which a critic has recently termed “anti-neocolonialism.”1 ...

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3. Tunde Kelani’s Nollywood: Aesthetics of Exhortation

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pp. 81-107

Of the three directors whose works are the main focus of this book, the Nigerian Tunde Kelani is perhaps the least well known to an international audience, even one familiar with African films. However, having made sixteen full-length films in less than twenty years (1993–2010), he is perhaps the most prolific of African filmmakers, surpassing even the late Ousmane Sembene, who had ...

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4. Jean-Pierre Bekolo and the Challenges of Aesthetic Populism

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pp. 108-132

... Taking a conceptual approach to the issues that preoccupy African filmmakers, Aristotle’s Plot makes a germane point that is easily overlooked, namely that speaking to a society as heterogeneous as contemporary Africa means speaking to a diversity of audiences and thus requires a diversity of filmmaking practices. I argue in this chapter that the central impulse in Bekolo’s work is to address the ideological fissures that have come to ...

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5. Imaginary Citizenship: Caryl Phillips’s Atlantic World

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pp. 133-155

... His writings, fictional and nonfictional, explore what it means to be in, but not of, a society, to belong legally to a country but feel excluded from it because of its history of treating one and one’s kind, whether racial, cultural, economic, or sexual, as outsiders. In this chapter, however, the focus of discussion will be on Phillips’s nonfictional writings, primarily ...

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6. Spirits of Bandung: A Sarcastic Subject Writes to Empire

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pp. 156-177

One of the most fascinating ironies of neoliberal globalization is that the wide-ranging and deep-running transformations of the world that have accompanied this socioeconomic (dis)order have not crippled political actions of the most uncompromisingly radical kind. If anything, those transformations have often freed radical political imaginations. Technological, institutional, and demographic ...

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Conclusion: Being African in the World

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pp. 178-183

... From the perspective of the relationship between the nation-state and socioeconomic processes, what we now generally accept as globalization used to be viewed negatively as neocolonialism. My central thesis in this book is that in order to speak usefully to things as they are, such a perspective requires a steady focus on the complex relationships between the poetics of decolonization and ...


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pp. 185-201

List of References

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pp. 203-218


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pp. 219-221


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pp. 223-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780253005502
E-ISBN-10: 0253005507
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253356796

Page Count: 252
Illustrations: 8 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: African Expressive Cultures
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OCLC Number: 768081345
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Africa -- In motion pictures.
  • Motion pictures and globalization.
  • Motion pictures -- Social aspects -- Africa.
  • Intercultural communication in motion pictures.
  • Literature and society.
  • Literature and globalization.
  • African diaspora in literature.
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