Humor and Violence
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Humor and Violence : Seeing Europeans in Central African Art

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Description

Humor and Violence examines the rich history of portraying Europeans in Central African art in images ranging from heart-wrenching scenes of human trafficking to playful parodies of colonialists. Z. S. Strother contends that the dialectic of humor and violence reveals deep insights into the psychology of power and resistance that continues to operate in the region today. Her argument is built on a set of works of art and demonstrates the important role that patronage and political and social history played in their creation. Strother conveys Central African ideas about how the therapeutic power of humor can initiate social change and upset power relations between oppressors and oppressed. This analysis plunges seemingly benign figures into a maelstrom of violence and crime-rape, murder, torture, and forced labor on a massive scale. By restoring the dialectic of humor, it reveals the complicated psychological codependency of Africans and Europeans over a long period of history and maintains that art plays a mediating function in the mechanics and ethics of power.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 364 pages
  • 229 x 229 x 22.86mm | 1,179g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 118 color illus.
  • 0253022673
  • 9780253022677
  • 1,800,853

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1. Introduction
2. Warning! What do you see? A white man? Or an over-dressed one?
3. New Commodities on the Loango Coast (1840-1880)
4. Depictions of Human Trafficking on Loango Ivories in the 1880s
5. Humor in the Hygiene of Power (ca. 1885-1915)
6. By Congolese, for Congolese (1910s-40s)
7. The African Victim in the Congolese Imaginary (1950s-1997)
Coda: Congolese Perspectives on Humor and Redemption
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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Review quote

Strother's expertise, notably, the "reading" of objects as texts is both highly compelling and thought-provoking, and ultimately, herein lies the book's strength. It is well written in accessible narrative style lavishly accompanied by color and black-and-white photographs, together with hand-drawn sketches. This book will no doubt find itself on the bookshelves of those interested in African art. * African Studies Quarterly * Humor and Violence is an excellent book of art historical scholarship and a pleasure to read. * African Studies Review * This well-written, meticulously researched study will be valuable to all who are interested in African arts. * Choice *
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About Z. S. Strother

Z. S. Strother is Riggio Professor of African Art at Columbia University. She is author of Inventing Masks: Agency and History in the Art of the Central Pende, winner of the Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/faculty/Strother.html
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