Now in Paperback


Shaping Culture through Cloth in Contemporary Mali
Victoria L. Rovine
Distribution: World
Publication date: 8/1/2008
Format: paper 200 pages, 69 b&w illus.
7 x 10
ISBN: 978-0-253-22029-5
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Focusing on a single Malian textile identified variously as bogolanfini, bogolan, or mudcloth, Victoria L. Rovine traces the dramatic technical and stylistic innovations that have transformed the cloth from its village origins into a symbol of new internationalism. Rovine shows how the biography of this uniquely African textile reveals much about contemporary culture in urban Africa and about the global markets in which African art circulates. Bogolan has become a symbol of national and ethnic identities, an element of contemporary, urban fashion, and a lucrative product in tourist art markets. At the heart of this beautifully illustrated book are the artists, changing notions of tradition, nationalism, and the value of cloth making and marketing on a worldwide scale.

Author Bio

Victoria L. Rovine is Assistant Professor of Art History and African Studies at the University of Florida. She is a contributor to Fashioning Africa (IUP, 2004). She lives in Gainesville, Florida.


"Well-organized chapters, extensive notes, an excellent bibliography, and beautiful color and black-and-white illustrations make Bogolan a pleasure to read. It is highly recommended to all those interested in the arts of Africa and in the social and economic transformations that have influenced them during the past decades." —African Studies Review

"Rovine has given us a thorough and authoritative account of the adaptability of a given textile to a wide range of local and international modalities." —Textile

". . . [T]his is a very good read for anyone with a passion for textiles and the many stories it can tell." —Textile Fibre Forum , No. 93, 2009

I would recommend Rovine’s book to anyone interested in West African culture, negotiations between tradition and modernity, or material culture in general. Her book provides a wealth of information on Bamana artists, markets, clothing, and bogolan." —Folklore Forum

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Table of Contents

Preface to the second edition

1. Introduction: Bogolan's Biography
2. The Rural Roots of Bogolan
3. The Tourist Art Market: Commerce in Authenticity
4. Tourist Market Bogolan: Changing Demands, Changing Forms
5. Fine Art Bogolan: Between Categories
6. The Fine Art Market: From Bogolan to Le Bogolan
7. Culture through Clothing: Bogolan as Fashion
8. Making It Modern: Bogolan Clothing's Dual Directions
9. Bogolan Abroad: Reverberations in the United States
10. Conclusion: Making the Traditional Modern

Selected Bibliography
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