Laura Isherwood | Framing Blackness and Appropriating Monstrosity in Blacula

28.2 The Postcolonial Cultural Industry

Abstract

This article considers how the Blaxploitation horror classic Blacula (1972) frames and (re)appropriates race, blackness, and monstrosity where genres meet. An analysis of Blacula illustrates how African-American filmmakers and audiences profited from Hollywood’s shifting priorities in the late 1960s as a means to enable black agency, both on the production side and in its powerful (counter) narrative. By creating a complex and sympathetic monster that is simultaneously an agent of black pride, Blacula brings the forgotten history of a marginalized racial community to the silver screen, encourages societal critique, and reflects the shift that took place in African-American identity politics amidst the rise of Black Nationalism in the United States.

January 14th, 2016

Akin Adesokan | Postcoloniality and the “Cultural Turn”

28.2 The Postcolonial Cultural Industry

Abstract

This essay discusses a significant theme in the field of postcolonial studies, that is, the paradox that culture as a political legitimation of identity is also subject to the violence of representation. Focusing on Kwame Anthony Appiah’s much-cited essay “Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?” as useful but limited meditation on this paradox, I highlight the importance of “the cultural turn” in postmodernity in entrenching the asymmetry between postcoloniality and other
fields in the humanities and the social sciences, with particular examples of the marketability of African and “non-European” experiences. This discussion enables me to contrast prevalent ideas of culture with classic texts (Cabral; Fanon) on the nature of national culture. In conclusion, I stress the becomingness and partiality of culture, at every historical point, as a set of practices that do not and cannot reflect the totality of social expressions of all sections of a given society.

January 14th, 2016

Patricia Schor | Postcolonial Exceptionality and the Portuguese Language: José Eduardo Agualusa’s The Book of Chameleons

28.2 The Postcolonial Cultural Industry

Abstract

Language discourse attached to Portuguese national culture has been critical for the re-establishment of the imperial centre in the space of encounter between Portugal and its former colonies. The Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa has been problematising this centrality; both criticising and re-enacting the mythology of a benevolent colonial encounter à la Portuguese. This article analyses the representations of the Portuguese language in Agualusa’s novel The Book of Chameleons. It unravels the author’s negotiations with the postcolonial narrative of imperial exceptionality, concluding about the transgressive quality of Agualusa’s language imagination.

January 14th, 2016

Alessandra Benedicty–Kokken | Ananda Devi and Dany Laferrière: The Cultural Industry, Poverty Discourse, and Postcolonial Literatures in French

28.2 The Postcolonial Cultural Industry

Abstract

In response to Sandra Ponzanesi’s call to devise better tools of analysis for understanding how postcolonial literature operates as both commodity and aesthetic, this article claims that one of the roles of the postcolonial novel in the early twenty-first century is to counter the notion that culture and poverty exist in a cause-effect relationship. Drawing on novels by Ananda Devi and Dany Laferrière, this article considers how using poverty as a category of analysis might allow us as readers to better understand more recent dynamics of the literary postcolonial culture industry.

January 14th, 2016

Sandra Ponzanesi | The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: From Consumption to Distinction

28.2 The Postcolonial Cultural Industry

Abstract

Drawing from Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s critical notion of the culture industry, this essay explores how postcolonial texts cater to cosmopolitan audiences who, according to Bourdieu’s idea of “distinction,” thrive on the consumption of global goods with local flare. Taking Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as an example of literary prestige being transformed into cosmopolitan distinction, the essay discusses how the cultural industry contributes to the marketing and transposition of postcolonial texts, and their rearticulation of race, ethnicity, class, affect, and embodiment from the local to the global context, elaborating on how the creation of celebrity status as a postcolonial spokesperson takes place.

January 14th, 2016