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Reviewed by:
  • Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics by Akin Adesokan
  • Chinedu Uzoma Amaefula
Adesokan, Akin. 2011. Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 230pp. $24.95 (paper); $20.99 (e-book).

Cultural occupation of postcolonialism in the context of didactic description is the triumphant scholarship and masterful theoretical framework of Indiana University Professor Akin Adesokan’s majestic publication, Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics, which provides a thorough intellectual, sociocultural, and multicontinental investigation of the manifestations and behavioral idiosyncrasies of the postcolonial era among six resplendently talented contemporary artists. Adesokan juxtaposes postcolonial artists-cum-compositional writers and socio-ideological critics, thematically critiquing colonization with a contemporary analysis of expatriates as he compares and contrasts modern-day filmmakers, essayists, and writers. He utilizes his superb literary skills to challenge postcolonial attitudes through acculturated and globalized aesthetical expression.

Adesokan opens his literary stream of thought to encourage his reader, if at all possible, to think as an openly charismatic and social critic of one’s ethno-nationalistic heritage. Tentatively, he disassembles barriers of cross-continental and functional globalized cosmopolitanism. He methodically deconstructs the sociopolitical parameters of expatriates from various countries to be ethno-intellectual physicians of their home countries domestically and as diasporians. Readers will learn that the reasons for socio-intellectual freedom of expression are contrasted with foreign citizenship granted elsewhere, whereas the internal intellectual criticism of postcolonial occupation is met with obstacles of political adversity and threats of death when identifying the shortcomings of self-proclaimed patriotism.

Adesokan succeeds in meticulously linking multiple ideas of postcolonial and occupationally cultured subjectivity to the nostalgic mentality of the expatriates, who strongly desire to express and exploit a depressed postcolonialized state in greater light. He uses rich literary and historical facts, framed with academic philosophical concepts, to paint a picture that demands acknowledgment. Pedagogically, he beautifully brings together six artists selected from different sociocultural and geopolitical backgrounds to express their deepest concerns and thoughts through postcolonial artistry. Simultaneously, he uses their diasporic status as an asymmetrical representation that shape-shifts the content and context of their work; also, he questions their cultural mobility, expatriation, and socio-commodification. In the process, he practically explores the younger generation’s access to technology, which repositions the idea of isolated geographical thought and manifests interconnectivity through the act of ever-growing globalization.

Adesokan exhibits a high level of theoretical scholarship, which he utilizes to provide a literary publication that is a fulfilling intellectual cross-cultural roller coaster. The importance of his thesis on postcolonial and global aesthetics is a great addition to the intellectual academy of contemporary Africana literature. Here, a multicultural ethno-nationalistic [End Page 110] historicity brings together the perspectives of the unheard scholar’s steward-ship of socio-intellectuality into a conglomerate of multifaceted artistry, in which Adesokan academically blends various productions of imagination, originality, and supreme creativity to offer an understanding of cultural interpretation. Some of the artists discussed are voices of change via purposeful analytical criticism, however; the underlining thematic concept touched upon is expatriates’ striving to control the socio-intellectual narrative versus the historical hegemonic cultural subjection to new postcolonialism in the image of global aesthetics.

In this publication, Adesokan swiftly attacks problems of decolonization in the globalized world, thus making his scholastic contribution on theorizing postcolonialism essential to African studies and the ethnographic study of literary works. As expected, postcolonial artists and global aesthetics, through interpretations, will forever take on challenges of individual interpolations of newly geopolitical surroundings.

General readers, researchers, and students will learn from this publication that decolonization and globalization are social ingredients for artists to create a story, and that its ethno-nationalistic and multicontinental perspectives could be the sentinel of eliminating isolated thinking and non-exposure to international artistic freedom of expression. This, above all, is a book that will benefit experts in the discipline of African studies and the general reader, especially as Adesokan theoretically illuminates the subject with a rigorous and ingenious integration of postcolonial and autonomous artistic integrity.

Chinedu Uzoma Amaefula
Indiana University–Bloomington


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pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
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