Indiana University Press

African Expressive Cultures

Published by: Indiana University Press

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African Expressive Cultures

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Contemporary African Fashion

Edited by Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran. Foreword by Joanne B. Eicher

African fashion is as diverse and dynamic as the continent and the people who live there. While experts have long recognized the importance of clothing as a marker of ethnic identity, life stages, political affiliation, and social class, they have only just begun to discover African fashion. Contemporary African Fashion puts Africa at the intersection of world cultures and globalized identities, displaying the powerful creative force and impact of newly emerging styles. Richly illustrated with color photographs, this book showcases haute couture for the African continent. The visual impact of fashion created and worn today in Africa comes to life here, beautifully and brilliantly.

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A Dance of Assassins

Performing Early Colonial Hegemony in the Congo

Allen F. Roberts

A Dance of Assassins presents the competing histories of how Congolese Chief Lusinga and Belgian Lieutenant Storms engaged in a deadly clash while striving to establish hegemony along the southwestern shores of Lake Tanganyika in the 1880s. While Lusinga participated in the east African slave trade, Storms' secret mandate was to meet Henry Stanley's eastward march and trace "a white line across the Dark Continent" to legitimize King Leopold's audacious claim to the Congo. Confrontation was inevitable, and Lusinga lost his head. His skull became the subject of a sinister evolutionary treatise, while his ancestral figure is now considered a treasure of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. Allen F. Roberts reveals the theatricality of early colonial encounter and how it continues to influence Congolese and Belgian understandings of history today.

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Fashioning Africa

Power and the Politics of Dress

Edited by Jean Allman

Everywhere in the world there is a close connection between the clothes we wear and our political expression. To date, few scholars have explored what clothing means in 20th-century Africa and the diaspora. In Fashioning Africa, an international group of anthropologists, historians, and art historians bring rich and diverse perspectives to this fascinating topic. From clothing as an expression of freedom in early colonial Zanzibar to Somali women's headcovering in inner-city Minneapolis, these essays explore the power of dress in African and pan-African settings. Nationalist and diasporic identities, as well as their histories and politics, are examined at the level of what is put on the body every day. Readers interested in fashion history, material and expressive cultures, understandings of nation-state styles, and expressions of a distinctive African modernity will be engaged by this interdisciplinary and broadly appealing volume.

Contributors are Heather Marie Akou, Jean Allman, A. Boatema Boateng, Judith Byfield, Laura Fair, Karen Tranberg Hansen, Margaret Jean Hay, Andrew M. Ivaska, Phyllis M. Martin, Marissa Moorman, Elisha P. Renne, and Victoria L. Rovine.

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Global Nollywood

The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry

Edited by Matthias Krings and Onookome Okome

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Highlife Saturday Night

Popular Music and Social Change in Urban Ghana

Nate Plageman

Highlife Saturday Night captures the vibrancy of Saturday nights in Ghana—when musicians took to the stage and dancers took to the floor—in this penetrating look at musical leisure during a time of social, political, and cultural change. Framing dance band "highlife" music as a central medium through which Ghanaians negotiated gendered and generational social relations, Nate Plageman shows how popular music was central to the rhythm of daily life in a West African nation. He traces the history of highlife in urban Ghana during much of the 20th century and documents a range of figures that fueled the music's emergence, evolution, and explosive popularity. This book is generously enhanced by audiovisual material on the Ethnomusicology Multimedia website.

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Hip Hop Africa

New African Music in a Globalizing World

Edited by Eric Charry

Hip Hop Africa explores a new generation of Africans who are not only consumers of global musical currents, but also active and creative participants. Eric Charry and an international group of contributors look carefully at youth culture and the explosion of hip hop in Africa, the embrace of other contemporary genres, including reggae, ragga, and gospel music, and the continued vitality of drumming. Covering Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa, this volume offers unique perspectives on the presence and development of hip hop and other music in Africa and their place in global music culture.

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Ifá Divination, Knowledge, Power, and Performance

Edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Rowland O. Abiodun

This landmark volume compiled by Jacob K. Olupona and Rowland O. Abiodun brings readers into the diverse world of Ifá—its discourse, ways of thinking, and artistic expression as manifested throughout the Afro-Atlantic. Firmly rooting Ifá within African religious traditions, the essays consider Ifá and Ifá divination from the perspectives of philosophy, performance studies, and cultural studies. They also examine the sacred context, verbal art, and the interpretation of Ifá texts and philosophy. With essays from the most respected scholars in the field, the book makes a substantial contribution toward understanding Ifá and its role in contemporary Yoruba and diaspora cultures.

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Journey of Song

Public Life and Morality in Cameroon

Clare A. Ignatowski

During the long dry season, Tupuri men and women in northern Cameroon gather in gurna camps outside their villages to learn the songs that will be performed at widely attended celebrations to honor the year's dead. The gurna provides a space for them to join together in solidarity to care for their cattle, fatten their bodies, and share local stories. But why does the gurna remain meaningful in the modern nation-state of Cameroon? In Journey of Song, Clare A. Ignatowski explores the vitality of gurna ritual in the context of village life and urban neighborhoods. She shows how Tupuri songs borrow from political discourse on democracy in Cameroon and make light of human foibles, publicize scandals, promote the prestige of dancers, and provide an arena for powerful social commentary on the challenges of modern life. In the context of broad social change in Africa, Ignatowski explores the creative and communal process by which local livelihoods and identities are validated in dance and song.

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Live from Dar es Salaam

Popular Music and Tanzania's Music Economy

Alex Perullo

When socialism collapsed in Tanzania, the government-controlled music industry gave way to a vibrant independent music scene. Alex Perullo explores the world of the bands, music distributors, managers, and clubs that attest to the lively and creative music industry in Dar es Salaam. Perullo examines the formation of the city’s music economy, considering the means of musical production, distribution, protection, broadcasting, and performance. He exposes both legal and illegal strategies for creating business opportunities employed by entrepreneurs who battle government restrictions and give flight to their musical aspirations. This is a singular look at the complex music landscape in one of Africa’s most dynamic cities.

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New Francophone African and Caribbean Theatres

John Conteh-Morgan with Dominic Thomas.

John Conteh-Morgan explores the multiple ways in which African and Caribbean theatres have combined aesthetic, ceremonial, experimental, and avant-garde practices in order to achieve sharp critiques of the nationalist and postnationalist state and to elucidate the concerns of the francophone world. More recent changes have introduced a transnational dimension, replacing concerns with national and ethnic solidarity in favor of irony and self-reflexivity. New Francophone African and Caribbean Theatres places these theatres at the heart of contemporary debates on global cultural and political practices and offers a more finely tuned understanding of performance in diverse diasporic networks.

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