Popular Culture in Africa
The Episteme of the Everyday
Edited by Stephanie Newell, Onookome Okome
To Be Published December 15th 2013 by Routledge – 288 pages
This volume marks the 25th anniversary of Karin Barber’s ground-breaking article, "Popular Arts in Africa", which stimulated new debates about African popular culture and its defining categories. Focusing on performances, audiences, social contexts and texts, contributors ask how African popular cultures contribute to the formation of an episteme. With chapters on theater, Nollywood films, blogging, and music and sports discourses, as well as on popular art forms, urban and youth cultures, and gender and sexuality, the book highlights the dynamism and complexity of contemporary popular cultures in sub-Saharan Africa.
Focusing on the streets of Africa, especially city streets where different cultures and cultural personalities meet, the book asks how the category of "the people" is identified and interpreted by African culture-producers, politicians, religious leaders, and by "the people" themselves. The book offers a nuanced, strongly historicized perspective in which African popular cultures are regarded as vehicles through which we can document ordinary people’s vitality and responsiveness to political and social transformations.
"A great book that draws together some of the best scholarship in the field and traces new directions for the study of African popular culture."
--David Murphy, Professor of French and Postcolonial Studies, University of Stirling
Introduction—"Africa of the Streets: Popular Texts and the Episteme of the Everyday", Stephanie Newell and Onookome Okome 1. African Cities as Sites of Creativity and Emancipation, Till Förster 2. Modern African Poetry in Cyberspace, Obododimma Oha 3. "Our tradition is a very modern tradition": from ritual heritage to creative economy, Will Rea 4. The Video Closet, or Nollywood’s "Gay Loophole," Lindsey Green-Simms and Unoma Azuah 5. No Condition is Permanent: the evolution of Nigerian video films, Jonathan Haynes 6. "Here", "There" and "Elsewhere": Disrupting Urban/Rural Binary Oppositions in Representations of Lagos and Other Nollywood Spaces, Clare Clements 7. "I am a Music Minister and not a Musician’: Negotiating Social Identity in Contemporary African Popular Music, Austin Emielu 8. Football as Social Unconscious or the Cultural Logic of Imperialism in Postcolonial Nigeria, James Tar Tsaaior 9. Popular magazines and newspapers in Tanzania, Uta Reuster-Jahn 10. Populist or "Popular"?: Kenyan popular culture and the mediatization of cultural output, George Ogola 11. Staging Kenyan internet cultures: Reading blogs and discussion forums as popular media, Dina Ligaga 12. Histories of the Present: Narrating Kenyan Popular Memory in the Work of Parselelo Kantai, Grace Musila 13. ‘We the people’ and the making of a non democratic culture in Zimbabwe’s protest theatre, Kelvin Chikonzo 14. Do Popular Nollywood Video Films Matter? Onookome Okome 15. Afterword, Karin Barber
Stephanie Newell is Professor of English at the University of Sussex, UK, and vice-president of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASA-UK).
Onookome Okome is Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada.