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African Video Movies and Global Desires

A Ghanaian History

Carmela Garritano

Publication Year: 2013

African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.

African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Series: Ohio RIS Africa Series


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Research for this project has been supported by grants from Michigan State University, FLAS, Fulbright IIE, the West Africa Research Association, and the University of St. Thomas. The professors I worked closely with at Michigan State, including David Robinson, Jyotsna Singh, and David Wiley, deserve special...

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Introduction: African Popular Videos as GlobalCultural Forms

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pp. 1-23

The emergence of popular video industries in Ghana and Nigeria represents the most important and exciting development in African cultural production in recent history. Since its inception in the 1960s, African filmmaking has been a “paradoxical activity” (Barlet 2000, 238). Born out of the historical struggle of decolonization and a commitment to represent “Africa...

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1: Mapping the Modern

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pp. 24-60

In 1995, to mark the centenary of cinema, the Ghanaian Ministry of Information sponsored a one-week film festival and symposium organized around the theme of North-South cross-cultural influences in cinema. The celebration featured screenings of films made in Ghana by the national film company and the internationally recognized independent filmmakers Kwah Ansah...

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2: Work, Women, and Worldly Wealth

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pp. 61-90

In 1987, when William Akuffo, a film importer and distributor, produced and screened Zinabu, a full-length feature shot with a VHS video camera, film production in Ghana was at a standstill. Dilapidated cinema houses, film equipment in need of repair, and the dire state of the economy had made the production of films financially untenable. The Ghana Film Industry Corporation...

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3: Professional Movies and Their Global Aspirations

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pp. 91-128

Across Africa, the 1990s brought unprecedented transformation into local media ecologies (Teer-Tomaselli, de Beer, and Wasserman 2007). In Ghana these changes were ushered in with the country’s first democratic elections in 1992. Now president, Rawlings continued to direct the country toward economic liberalization. Throughout the 1990s, the deregulation of the state-controlled media environment, a central component of liberalization,...

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4: Tourism and Trafficking

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pp. 129-153

In “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality” (2001), Simon Gikandi describes the convergence of postcolonial and globalization theories, which he refers to as “the cultural turn in global studies” (634), a turn taken by scholars of globalization in search of a vocabulary to describe the transnational cultural flows and formations that have appeared in the last fifty years. Postcolonial...

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5: Transcultural Encounters and Local Imaginaries

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pp. 154-194

In his widely anthologized essay “Toward a Regional Imaginary in Africa” (1998), film critic Manthia Diawara argues that in the context of globalization and liberalization, regional zones of exchange in Africa, and the transnational flows of capital, people, imaginaries, technologies, and commodities that produce and sustain them, generate a type of “disorder” that challenges...

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pp. 195-200

Jean-Marie Teno’s lyrical documentary Sacred Places (2009) unfolds in the small, poor neighborhood of Saint Léon in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, during the 2007 FESPACO Pan-African film festival. It returns to an old conundrum: African cinema, like the many films shown at FESPACO, is not within the reach of African audiences. Teno tells us early in the film...


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pp. 201-216

Films and Videos

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pp. 217-224


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pp. 225-240


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pp. 241-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780896804845
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896802865

Page Count: 284
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Ohio RIS Africa Series