Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics

Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics

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What happens when social and political processes such as globalization shape cultural production? Drawing on a range of writers and filmmakers from Africa and elsewhere, Akin Adesokan explores the forces at work in the production and circulation of culture in a globalized world. He tackles problems such as artistic representation in the era of decolonization, the uneven development of aesthetics across the world, and the impact of location and commodity culture on genres, with a distinctive approach that exposes the global processes transforming cultural forms.show more

Product details

  • Book | 252 pages
  • 149.86 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 8 b&w illus.
  • 0253223458
  • 9780253223456
  • 1,653,530

Review quote

In this provocative book, Adesokan (comparative literature, Indiana Univ., Bloomington) argues that genre is shaped by context. For mid-20th-century Africa and much of the world, that context was decolonization, and by the beginning of the 21st century, globalization. The author reveals how the negative aspects of colonialism helped form complex identity issues and the aesthetic restrictions imposed by globalization. He discusses the inherent tensions between decolonization and globalization, using the works of six prominent artists to frame his arguments. His chapters on African film are particularly illuminating: he addresses the dominant tensions between film as a politically engaged medium (using Ousmane Sembene's 1975 film adaptation of his novel Xala, 1974) and film as commercial medium that caters to audience desires (using Tunde Kelani's 2001 Nollywood film/video Thunderbolt). Between the two he situates Jean-Pierre Bekolo's 1996 film Aristotle's Plot, which suggests the interplay between film as art, political engagement, and the desires of the audience for entertainment largely shaped by non-African aesthetics. Going beyond continental Africa, Adesokan includes chapters on Trinidadian/black British writer C. L. R. James, novelist and scholar Caryl Phillips, and prominent Indian writer Arundhati Roy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. --ChoiceC. Pike, University of Minnesota, April 2012 "Highly recommended." -Choice "Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics thinks politics, art, aesthetics, modes of media production, and ideas about home, always dynamically, through the lens of expatriation. The book offers a necessary alternative to 'globalization' and lends 'postcoloniality' a shot in the critical and theoretical arm. It not only brings together various postcolonial locales (the Caribbean, the Asian subcontinent, Africa, the diaspora), but enacts how they should be thought together." -Grant Farred, Cornell University "This book is a significant intervention in debates on Postcolonialism and a model of intellectual ambition in its constant crossing of disciplinary and generic boundaries." -Jonathan Haynes, Long Island University "Adesokan's erudite study is rich in material and analysis, and the author navigates distinct historical, cultural, and theoretical landscapes with ease." -Research in African Literatures, Vol. 43, No. 3 "Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics makes a much-needed contribution to conversations in comparative literature, film studies, and African Studies." -African Studies Quarterly "Scholars of African visual culture will be well served by Akin Adesokan's book, which offers a model for interpreting artworks within the many cultural and economic contexts in which they function. He trains most of his keen analysis on film and written literature, and many of his theoretical interventions will prove salient to the most urgent current discourses in the history and criticism of African art in many media and genres." -Journal of Contemporary African Art "Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics is very much a book for postcolonial studies scholars to think with... Adesokan provides a systematic way of thinking about the deep structural links that unite globalization and decolonization, as world-historical social formations, in the work of artists from what was once called the 'Third World.' Borrowing from network theory, Adesokan demonstrates how we might create new cognitive maps of the postcolonial 'Third World' based on links and ties across geographic space and in relationship to the metropoles, an approach that justifies his own pairing of African, Caribbean, and South Asian artists and thinkers." -African Studies Review "Adesokan offers a successful, rigorous example of a project that demonstrates the political urgency and conceptual depth of African artists, as well as artists' investment in mercurial global political networks that stretch across generations and continents." -NKA :Jrnl of Contemporary African Art "General readers, researchers, and students will learn from this publication that decolonization and globalization are social ingredients for artists to create a story, and that its ethno-nationalistic and multicontinental perspectives could be the sentinel of eliminating isolated thinking and non-exposure to international artistic freedom of expression." -Africa Todayshow more

About Akinwumi Adesokan

Akin Adesokan is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington and author of the novel Roots in the Sky. His writings have appeared in Screen, Textual Practice, Chimurenga, and Research in African Literatures.show more

Table of contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Generic Transformations at the Crossroads of Capital1. C. L. R. James Sees the World Steadily2. Fitful Decolonization: Xala and the Poetics of Double Fetishism3. Tunde Kelani's Nollywood: Aesthetics of Exhortation4. Jean-Pierre Bekolo and the Challenges of Aesthetic Populism5. Imaginary Citizenship: Caryl Phillips's Atlantic World6. Spirits of Bandung: A Sarcastic Subject Writes to EmpireConclusion: Being African in the WorldNotesList of ReferencesFilmographyIndexshow more