To link with the Africa in Motion 2012 festival theme Modern Africa, we are inviting papers from scholars working in the field of African Popular Culture. The festival will focus on films and events that represent Africa as part and parcel of the modern, globalised world – the urban, the new, the provocative, the innovative and experimental. We regard “modern” not as belonging solely to the “West”, and through the festival we want to emphasise Africa’s important role in the modern world. We are interested in discovering and exploring through this year’s festival how modernity manifests in African cultures, and the symposium focus on African popular culture will further enhance this theme.
Suggested themes for papers include:
What is African popular culture?
How could Karin Barber’s pioneering work in African Cultural Studies be updated for the 21st century?
How could African popular culture be regarded as manifestations of contemporary African identities?
Questioning the myth of the “tradition-versus-modernity conflict” in African societies
Globalisation, hybridisation, intertextuality and interdisciplinarity in the field of African Cultural Studies
The digital revolution and the video-film industries in Africa: Ghanaian video-films, Nollywood and its followers (for example Bongowood in Tanzania, Riverwood in Kenya, Ugawood in Uganda)
Film spectatorship, audiences and sites of consumption in African popular film
Popular music and youth culture in Africa: for example hip-hop, rap, kwaito and the political dimensions of these musical genres
New fusions of traditional music and Western influences: for example Youssou N’Dour and Mbalax (Senegal/Gambia)
Popular music and activism: for example Fela Kuti and the Afrobeat revolution
Contemporary African dance as a fusion of styles, genres and influences
Popular dance as a tool to interpret and comment on history: for example Angolan kuduro
Political cartooning as satire and subversion: critiquing neo-colonialism and subverting colonial representations
Comics and graphic novels as a reflection of urban landscapes and identities
Street fashion: Alternative clothing styles and youth culture, for example “Geek chic”, hip hop, the Congolese Sapeurs
African wax prints: the global economy of production
Meaningful fashion: patterns, imagery and slogans on African fabrics, for example Swahili kangas
Sport and development in Africa
Football, fandom and collective identities in Africa
Street art, graffiti and murals as popular expression and resistance
Street art for awareness-raising, social change and urban rejuvenation
Posters and slogans on public transport as expressions of religious and social identities
Yoruba travelling theatre and its influence on contemporary culture
Street theatre and theatre for development
Orality and performance in Africa: masquerades, rituals, trance and possession, musical performances, comic and satiric sketches, dance theatre
Contemporary African art as straddling “high culture” and “pop culture”
Recyclia and contemporary sculpture in Africa
African photography beyond National Geographic
Beyond the tourist curios: Popular painting such as Tinga Tinga (Tanzania)
Suggested elitism in the literary arts in Africa
Abstracts are solicited for individual 20-minute papers on the theme of the symposium. We are looking for submissions from scholars at all levels (postgraduate students are most welcome) and invite contributions from as wide a scope of research areas and disciplines as possible. Unfortunately, AiM is unable to sponsor any flights or accommodation for visiting scholars. You are encouraged to obtain sponsorship from your home institution.
We invite abstracts of 250-300 words as well as brief biographical details (no more than 100 words) to be sent to the symposium organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 30 July 2012 . Please include contact details, institutional affiliation, current appointment / stage of study and main research interests.
Please note that general registration for attending the conference (not as a speaker), will open later in the year.
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