ASA Panel--Politics and Public Culture in Ghana after Rawlings: Performance, Consumption, and Political Authority
Africanist scholars continue to explore how historical and political economic transformations are articulated through diverse modalities of cultural production including popular performance genres such as theatre and music, commercial media such as television and radio, and other events such as corporate- and state-sponsored annual festivals. In Ghana, these communicative and embodied practices took on a specific historical and analytical significance during the Nkrumah era. Under Rawlings the politics of performance were palpably refashioned alongside the liberalizing economic reforms that radically shaped the nation. The expansive presence of global commerce and the fluidity of capital brought about a profusion of new commodities and commodity images. Increasingly, the Ghanaian public sphere is saturated with advertisements, commodity images, and brand-name associations, inciting new modalities of consumption that challenge the way people make meaningful associations between social, political and economic values. Often such practices are manifest in symbolic vehicles that capture the ambiguities of transforming social contexts in which the circulation of wealth and access to economic resources is variously apprehended.
In this session of the African Studies Association’s annual meeting, we will explore the new configurations of political-economy and cultural production emergent under Rawlings and into the present, focusing on performance, dressed bodies, advertising and consumption, and the production of political authority.
Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
-Public events or bodily media as sites that perform relations between chiefs, the central government, and corporate institutions
-Social and/or political relations and meanings embedded in commodities, commodity images, and other forms of advertising
-Corporate discourses about “culture” and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives
-Performances of “heritage” or “slavery tourism” as related to the production of social and economic values
-Chiefs' access to economic resources through public relations with corporate institutions
African Studies Association’s annual meeting will take place in Philadelphia, PA from November 29 through December 1, 2012.
If you would like to be considered for this panel, please submit an abstract of 250 words or less and a two-age CV to Professor Benjamin Talton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for abstracts is March 6, 2012.
Department of History
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