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Nigerian Film Culture and the Idea of the Nation

1 June 2017

A new book, which investigates the contribution of Nollywood to the idea of nationhood, has important implications for language, politics, and culture in Africa. The governing concern of Nigerian Film Culture and the Idea of the Nation: Nollywood and National Narration, edited by James Tar Tsaaior (Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria) and Françoise Ugochukwu (IKD) and published by Adonis & Abbey, is that texts – including film texts – are animated by a particular sociology and anthropology which gives them concrete existence and meaning.

The book argues that Nollywood is deeply rooted in the sub-soil of its social and cultural milieux and is, therefore, engaged in the relentless negotiation and re-negotiation of people’s everyday lives against the backdrop of their cultural traditions, social contradictions and the politics of their ethnic and national identities.

Topics range from women’s liberation to folktales, globalisation to witchcraft (Françoise also contributes Chapter 2: Changing Nigerian Cultures: Two Films against Witchcraft and an Impossible Dialogue). In the words of Long Island University’s Professor Jonathan Haynes:

“This collection of sophisticated essays takes up, in the context of Nigerian video films, the grand themes of African literary criticism: the role of orality and oral traditions in contemporary art forms, relations with international models and audiences, women’s issues, and – the encompassing concerns in this volume – language, modernity, and the nation.

The essays are remarkably various in their methodological and theoretical equipment and in their concerns. Some drill down deeply into indigenous resources: Hausa folktales, the healing power of the oral tradition, and filmmaking in minority languages. Others are concerned with globalisation in several dimensions.”

In April, Françoise also presented Translating from Igbo: The Difficult Story of Omenuko's Publication at the World Congress of Translation Studies in Paris and Never Forget Biafra – Regina Ubanatu's Dream at the Igbo Conference held at SOAS.

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