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Art and Architecture
Vol. 49, (2016) through current issue
African Arts presents original research and critical discourse on traditional, contemporary, and popular African arts and expressive cultures. Since 1967, the journal has reflected the dynamism and diversity of this work, publishing full-color, richly illustrated articles incorporating the most current theory, practice, and intercultural dialogue. AA offers readers peer-reviewed articles concerning a range of art forms and visual cultures of the world’s second largest continent and its diasporas, plus book and exhibition reviews, artist portfolios, photo essays, and more.
Histories, Innovations, and Ideas You Can Wear
African Fashion, Global Style provides a lively look at fashion, international networks of style, material culture, and the world of African aesthetic expression. Victoria L. Rovine introduces fashion designers whose work reflects African histories and cultures both conceptually and stylistically, and demonstrates that dress styles associated with indigenous cultures may have all the hallmarks of high fashion. Taking readers into the complexities of influence and inspiration manifested through fashion, this book highlights the visually appealing, widely accessible, and highly adaptable styles of African dress that flourish on the global fashion market.
"This volume has much to recommend it -- providing fascinating and stimulating insights into many arenas of material culture, many of which still remain only superficially explored in the archaeological literature." -- Archaeological Review
"... a vivid introduction to the topic.... A glimpse into the unique and changing identities in an ever-changing world." -- Come-All-Ye
Fourteen interdisciplinary essays open new perspectives for understanding African societies and cultures through the contextualized study of objects, treating everything from the production of material objects to the meaning of sticks, masquerades, household tools, clothing, and the television set in the contemporary repertoire of African material culture.
Reflections on the Politics of Material and Public Culture in Zimbabwe
One of the central theoretical and practical issues in post-colonial Africa is the relevance, nature, and politics at play in the management of museum institutions on the continent. Most African museums were established during the 19th and 20th centuries as European imperialists were spreading their colonial tentacles across the continent. The attainment of political independence has done little to undo or correct the obnoxious situation. Most African countries continue to practice colonial museology despite surging scholarship and calls by some Afro-centric and critical scholars the world over to address the quandaries on the continent�s museum institutions. There is thus an unresolved struggle between the past and the present in the management of museums in Africa. In countries such as Zimbabwe, the struggle in museum management has been precipitated by the sharp economic downturn that has gripped the country since the turn of the millennium. In view of all these glitches, this book tackles the issue of the management of heritage in Zimbabwe. The book draws on the findings by scholars and researchers from different academic orientations and backgrounds to advance the thesis that museums and museology in Zimbabwe face problems of epic proportions that require urgent attention. It makes insightful suggestions on possible solutions to the tapestry of the inexorably enigmatic amalgam of complex problems haunting museum institutions in Zimbabwe, calling for a radical transformation of museology as a discipline in the process. This book should appeal to policy makers, scholars, researchers and students from disciplines such as museology, archaeology, social-cultural anthropology, and culture and heritage studies.
A Ghanaian History
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.
Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santería
This book profiles four generations of women from one Afro-Cuban religious family. From a plantation in Havana Province in the 1890s to a religious center in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s, these women were connected by their prominent roles as leaders in the religions they practiced and the dramatic ritual artwork they created. Each woman was a medium in Espiritismo--communicating with dead ancestors for guidance or insight--and also a santera, or priest of Santería, who could intervene with the oricha pantheon.
Kristine Juncker argues that by creating art for more than one religion these women shatter the popular assumption that Afro-Caribbean religions are exclusive organizations. Most remarkably, the portraiture, sculptures, and photographs in Afro-Cuban Religious Arts offer rare glimpses into the rituals and iconography of these religions. Santería altars are closely guarded, limited to initiates, and typically destroyed upon the death of the santera, while Espiritismo artifacts are rarely considered valuable enough to pass on. The unique and protean cultural legacy detailed here reveals insights into how ritual art became popular imagery, sparked a wider dialogue about culture inheritance, attracted new practitioners, and enabled the movement to explode internationally.
Photography in Nineteenth-Century India
Afterimage of Empire provides a philosophical and historical account of early photography in India that focuses on how aesthetic experiments in colonial photography changed the nature of perception. Considering photographs from the Sepoy Revolt of 1857 along with landscape, portraiture, and famine photography, Zahid R. Chaudhary explores larger issues of truth, memory, and embodiment.
Chaudhary scrutinizes the colonial context to understand the production of sense itself, proposing a new theory of interpreting the historical difference of aesthetic forms. In rereading colonial photographic images, he shows how the histories of colonialism became aesthetically, mimetically, and perceptually generative. He suggests that photography arrived in India not only as a technology of the colonial state but also as an instrument that eventually extended and transformed sight for photographers and the body politic, both British and Indian.
Ultimately, Afterimage of Empire uncovers what the colonial history of the medium of photography can teach us about the making of the modern perceptual apparatus, the transformation of aesthetic experience, and the linkages between perception and meaning.
Video Art and Media Populism
Against Immediacy is a history of early video art considered in relation to television in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. It examines how artists questioned the ways in which “the people” were ideologically figured by the commercial mass media. During this time, artists and organizations including Nam June Paik, Juan Downey, and the Women’s Video News Service challenged the existing limits of the one-to-many model of televisual broadcasting while simultaneously constructing more democratic, bottom-up models in which the people mediated themselves. Operating at the intersection between art history and media studies, Against Immediacy connects early video art and the rise of the media screen in gallery-based art to discussions about participation and the activation of the spectator in art and electronic media, moving from video art as an early form of democratic media practice to its canonization as a form of high art.
Photography against History in Indigenous Siberia
Following the socialist revolution, a colossal shift in everyday realities began in the 1920s and ’30s in the former Russian empire. Faced with the Siberian North, a vast territory considered culturally and technologically backward by the revolutionary government, the Soviets confidently undertook the project of reshaping the ordinary lives of the indigenous peoples in order to fold them into the Soviet state. In Agitating Images, Craig Campbell draws a rich and unsettling cultural portrait of the encounter between indigenous Siberians and Russian communists and reveals how photographs from this period complicate our understanding of this history.
Agitating Images provides a glimpse into the first moments of cultural engineering in remote areas of Soviet Siberia. The territories were perceived by outsiders to be on the margins of civilization, replete with shamanic rituals and inhabited by exiles, criminals, and “primitive” indigenous peoples. The Soviets hoped to permanently transform the mythologized landscape by establishing socialist utopian developments designed to incorporate minority cultures into the communist state. This book delves deep into photographic archives from these Soviet programs, but rather than using the photographs to complement an official history, Campbell presents them as anti-illustrations, or intrusions, that confound simple narratives of Soviet bureaucracy and power. Meant to agitate, these images offer critiques that cannot be explained in text alone and, in turn, put into question the nature of photographs as historical artifacts.
An innovative approach to challenging historical interpretation, Agitating Images demonstrates how photographs go against accepted premises of Soviet Siberia. All photographs, Campbell argues, communicate in unique ways that present new and even contrary possibilities to the text they illustrate. Ultimately, Agitating Images dissects our very understanding of the production of historical knowledge.