“Don't Tell Me You Want to Marry a White Man!”

The Encounter with Euro-American Characters and Settings in African Commercial Cinema

Authored by: Alessandro Jedlowski

Routledge Handbook of African Popular Culture

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367483869
eBook ISBN: 9781003080855
Adobe ISBN:


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The recent publication of Salim Abdelmadjid’s essay on “An African concept of Europe” contributed to further reigniting the philosophical debates around the legacies of colonialism on the relation between African and European epistemologies. This debate, which over the past three decades has seen the contribution of several leading African philosophers, usually adopted as main sources the work of key African and European intellectuals and artists, marginalizing the analysis of African popular cultures’ “epistemes of the everyday” and their role in redefining African modes of understanding the world. Taking this debate as a starting point, in this essay I will analyse the “concepts of Europe” that can be observed in one of the most common and widespread forms of contemporary African popular culture: video film production. The emergence of African video film industries in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroun and elsewhere around the continent have importantly contributed to the formation of new African “modes of self-writing”, but it has equally participated in reconfiguring African imageries of the elsewhere. In this essay I will focus on a few films from Nigeria and Ethiopia to develop a comparative analysis of popular African conceptualisation of the encounter with Europe (and the West more generally) that can provide the materials for a critical understanding of the contemporary interactions between Africa and its European Other.

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