African Appropriations

African Appropriations

Cultural Difference, Mimesis, and Media
Matthias Krings
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/20/2015
Format: Paperback 33 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01629-4
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Why would a Hollywood film become a Nigerian video remake, a Tanzanian comic book, or a Congolese music video? Matthias Krings explores the myriad ways Africans respond to the relentless onslaught of global culture. He seeks out places where they have adapted pervasive cultural forms to their own purposes as photo novels, comic books, songs, posters, and even scam letters. These African appropriations reveal the broad scope of cultural mediation that is characteristic of our hyperlinked age. Krings argues that there is no longer an "original" or "faithful copy," but only endless transformations that thrive in the fertile ground of African popular culture.

Author Bio

Matthias Krings is Professor of Anthropology and African Popular Culture at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. He is editor (with Onookome Okome) of Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry (IUP, 2013).


“An original, stimulating, and convincing discussion of mimetic behaviors in the fields of cultural production and artistic expression.”
 — Peter Probst, Tufts University

“Matthias Krings has brilliantly fused together vignettes of contemporary African visual mediascapes that cause us to revise our perceptions of eddies and translocations of transnational mediated popular culture to Africa and within Africa.”
 — Abdalla U. Adamu, Bayero University, Kano

African Appropriations is a highly engaging, rigorous, and creative work, and among the most provocative and compelling books I have read in years. It is extremely suitable for undergraduate or graduate instruction, and highly recommended.

 — H-Africa

“Not only does [Krings] straddle different societies . . . he also ranges across a host of differing cultural forms: spirit possession, music, graphic novels, film, posters, 419 letters, photo novels, and stickers, among others. The result is, and this should be stressed, a genuinely innovative book unlike most others in either anthropology or African studies.”
 — American Ethnologist

“African Appropriations is rich compendium of useful commentary on cultural and media forms that otherwise have received scattered treatment. It will certainly be a valuable resource for scholars and an accessible and interesting text for classrooms.”
 — African Studies Review

“Overall, African Appropriations is an engaging, readable, creative, and well-researched piece of scholarship.”
 — H-Material-Culture

“The text is jargon free, a pleasure to read, remarkably well researched, and enriched by 40 illustrations. . . . Highly recommended.”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents



1. Major Wicked: Embodying Cultural Difference

2. Lance Spearman: An African James Bond

3. Black Titanic: Pirating the White Star Liner

4. Vice and Videos: Kanywood under Duress

5. Dar 2 Lagos: Nollywood in Tanzania

6. Branding bin Laden: The Global "War on Terror" on a Local Stage

7. Master and Mugu: Orientalist Mimicry and Cybercrime

8. "Crazy White Men": Un/doing Difference in African Popular Music

Coda: Mimesis and Media in Africa





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