Decades after independence for most African states, the struggle for decolonization is still incomplete, as demonstrated by the fact that Africa remains associated in many Western minds with chaos, illness, and disorder. African and non-African scholars alike still struggle to establish the idea of African humanity, in all its diversity, and to move Africa beyond its historical role as the foil to the West.
As this book shows, Africa’s decolonization is an ongoing process across a range of fronts, and intellectuals—both African and non-African—have significant roles to play in that process. The essays collected here examine issues such as representation and retrospection; the roles of intellectuals in the public sphere; and the fundamental question of how to decolonize African knowledges. African Intellectuals and Decolonization outlines ways in which intellectual practice can serve to de-link Africa from its global representation as a debased, subordinated, deviant, and inferior entity.
Lesley Cowling, University of the Witwatersrand
Nicholas M. Creary, University at Albany
Marlene De La Cruz, Ohio University
Carolyn Hamilton, University of Cape Town
George Hartley, Ohio University
Janet Hess, Sonoma State University
T. Spreelin McDonald, Ohio University
Ebenezer Adebisi Olawuyi, University of Ibadan
Steve Odero Ouma, University of Nairobi
Oyeronke Oyewumi, State University of New York
at Stony Brook
Tsenay Serequeberhan, Morgan State University
When the American reporter Henry Morton Stanley stepped out of the jungle in 1871 and doffed his pith helmet to the Scottish missionary-explorer Dr. David Livingstone, his greeting was to take on mythological proportions. But do any of us really know what his words meant at the time--and what they have come to mean since?
Far from meeting in a remote thicket in "Darkest Africa," Stanley met Livingstone in the middle of a thriving Muslim community. The news of their encounter was transmitted around the globe, and Livingstone instantly became one of the world's first international celebrities.
This book shows how urgently a handshake between a Briton and an American was needed to heal the rift between the two countries after the American Civil War. It uncovers for the first time the journeys that Livingstone's African servants made around Britain after his death, and it makes a case for Stanley's immense influence on the idea of the modern at the dawn of the twentieth century. Drawing on films, children's books, games, songs, cartoons, and TV shows, this book reveals the many ways our culture has remembered Stanley's phrase, while tracking the birth of an Anglo-American Christian imperialism that still sets the world agenda today.
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume? is a story of conflict and paradox that also takes us into the extraordinary history of British engagement with Africa. Clare Pettitt shows both the bleakest side of imperialism and the strange afterlife of a historical event in popular mythmaking and music hall jokes.
After the death of James Dean in 1955, the figure of the teen rebel permeated the globe, and its presence is still felt in the twenty-first century. Rebel iconography—which does not have to resemble James Dean himself, but merely incorporates his disaffected attitude—has become an advertising mainstay used to sell an array of merchandise and messages. Despite being overused in advertisements, it still has the power to surprise when used by authors and filmmakers in innovative and provocative ways.
The rebel figure has mass appeal precisely because of its ambiguities; it can mean anything to anyone. The global appropriation of rebel iconography has invested it with fresh meanings. Author Claudia Springer succeeds here in analyzing both ends of the spectrum—the rebel icon as a tool in upholding capitalism's cycle of consumption, and as a challenge to that cycle and its accompanying beliefs.
In this groundbreaking study of rebel iconography in international popular culture, Springer studies a variety of texts from the United States and abroad that use this imagery in contrasting and thought-provoking ways. Using a cultural studies approach, she analyzes films, fiction, poems, Web sites, and advertisements to determine the extent to which the icon's adaptations have been effective as a response to the actual social problems affecting contemporary adolescents around the world.
Among shifting politics, tastes, and technology in television history, one genre has been remarkably persistent: the cop show. Claudia Calhoun returns to Dragnet, the pioneering police procedural and an early transmedia franchise, appearing on radio in 1949, on TV and in film in the 1950s, and in later revivals. More than a popular entertainment, Dragnet was a signifier of America’s postwar confidence in government institutions—and a publicity vehicle for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Only the Names Have Been Changed shows how Dragnet’s “realistic” storytelling resonated across postwar culture. Calhoun traces Dragnet’s “semi-documentary” predecessors, and shows how Jack Webb, Dragnet’s creator, worked directly with the LAPD as he produced a series that would likewise inspire public trust by presenting day-to-day procedural justice, rather than shootouts and wild capers. Yet this realism also set aside the seething racial tensions of Los Angeles as it was. Dragnet emerges as a foundational text, one that taught audiences to see police as everyday heroes not only on TV but also in daily life, a lesson that has come under scrutiny as Americans increasingly seek to redefine the relationship between policing and public safety.
Grounded in perspectives of affect theory, Other Americans examines the writings of Roberto Bolaño and Daniel Alarcón; films by Alfonso Cuarón, Claudia Llosa, Matt Piedmont, and Joel and Ethan Coen; as well as the Netflix serials Narcos and El marginal. These widely consumed works about Latin America—equally balanced between narratives produced in the United States and in the region itself—are laden with fear, anxiety, and shame, which has an impact that exceeds the experience of reception. The negative feelings encoded in visions of Latin America become common coinage for US audiences, shaping their ideological relationship with the region and performing an affective interpellation. By analyzing the underlying melodramatic structures of these works that would portray Latin America as an implicit other, Bush examines a process of affective comprehension that foments an us/them, or north/south binary in the reception of Latin America’s globalized art.
In Popular Trauma Culture, Anne Rothe argues that American Holocaust discourse has a particular plot structure—characterized by a melodramatic conflict between good and evil and embodied in the core characters of victim/survivor and perpetrator—and that it provides the paradigm for representing personal experiences of pain and suffering in the mass media. The book begins with an analysis of Holocaust clichés, including its political appropriation, the notion of vicarious victimhood, the so-called victim talk rhetoric, and the infusion of the composite survivor figure with Social Darwinism. Readers then explore the embodiment of popular trauma culture in two core mass media genres: daytime TV talk shows and misery memoirs.
Rothe conveys how victimhood and suffering are cast as trauma kitsch on talk shows like Oprah and as trauma camp on modern-day freak shows like Springer. The discussion also encompasses the first scholarly analysis of misery memoirs, the popular literary genre that has been widely critiqued in journalism as pornographic depictions of extreme violence. Currently considered the largest growth sector in book publishing worldwide, many of these works are also fabricated. And since forgeries reflect the cultural entities that are most revered, the book concludes with an examination of fake misery memoirs.
There exists today a tragic rift between Americans and the world’s Muslims. Yet in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was widespread sympathy for the U.S. throughout the Muslim world. This book explores what happened. It examines the disconnect that leads Americans and Muslims to view the same words and images in fundamentally different ways. Partly a result of a centuries-old 'us' against 'them' dichotomy, the problem is exacerbated by an increasingly polarised media and by leaders on both sides who either don't understand or don't care what impact their words and policies have in the world at large.
Journalist-scholar Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent, argues that the Arab media revolution and the rise of 'patriot-journalists' in the US marginalized voices of moderation, distorting perceptions on both sides of the divide with potentially disastrous results.
Built on the author's extensive journalistic experience, the book will appeal to policymakers, students of media studies, Middle East studies and Islamic studies, and general current affairs readers.
Following completion of the U.S. air base in Natal, Brazil, in 1942, U.S. airmen departing for North Africa during World War II communicated with Brazilian mechanics with a thumbs-up before starting their engines. This sign soon replaced the Brazilian tradition of touching the earlobe to indicate agreement, friendship, and all that was positive and good—yet another indication of the Americanization of Brazil under way during this period.
In this translation of O Imperialismo Sedutor, Antonio Pedro Tota considers both the Good Neighbor Policy and broader cultural influences to argue against simplistic theories of U.S. cultural imperialism and exploitation. He shows that Brazilians actively interpreted, negotiated, and reconfigured U.S. culture in a process of cultural recombination. The market, he argues, was far more important in determining the nature of this cultural exchange than state-directed propaganda efforts because Brazil already was primed to adopt and disseminate American culture within the framework of its own rapidly expanding market for mass culture. By examining the motives and strategies behind rising U.S. influence and its relationship to a simultaneous process of cultural and political centralization in Brazil, Tota shows that these processes were not contradictory, but rather mutually reinforcing.
The Seduction of Brazil brings greater sophistication to both Brazilian and American understanding of the forces at play during this period, and should appeal to historians as well as students of Latin America, culture, and communications.
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