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CFP: The Companion to African Cinema

2015 March 6
by Shared by Steve Rust
CFP: The Companion to African Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell)Kenneth Harrow and Carmela Garritano, editors.

Proposals due May 15, 2015 

In recent years, African film critics have begun to consider dramatic changes in African cinematic production and distribution as well as the aesthetic and narrative innovations these transformations have made possible. Critics such as Manthia Diawara, Lindiwe Dovey, Kenneth Harrow, Jon Haynes, and Alexie Tcheuyap have called for updated approaches attuned to reading these new forms of African cinematic and media production and, in the cases of Harrow and Tcheuyap, the dismantling of an outdated dominant critical paradigm.

Since its beginnings, African film studies has set out to articulate a uniquely and authentically African film language and aesthetic, recover the buried histories of African resistance, educate and politicize audiences, and give voice to Africans marginalized by dominant narratives, including Hollywood cinema. Its methods have been rooted in the hermeneutics of what Alberto Moreiras calls “locational thinking” and Achille Mbembe has described as “an intellectual genealogy based on a territorialized identity and a racialized geography,” approaches ill-suited to cinemas born under the aegis of globalized forces and post-cold war struggles.

This volume will include essays on a broad range of topics, also including “video films” and other forms of screen media. The approaches adumbrated by Moreiras’s and Mbembe’s criticisms anticipate such developments as Nollywood, a product of the structural and technological transformations of neoliberal capitalism that articulates with the entangled temporalities of our current historical moment.  If initiated by the advent of commercial video production in Ghana and Nigeria in the late 1980s, recent transformations in African cinema now include the many film innovations of independent African directors, such as the sci-fi efforts of Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu, the intense psycho-genocide film by Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza, and the poetic-realist art films of Mahamet Saleh Haroun, as well as what is coming to be termed “New Nollywood.”  In addition, there is an expanding body of genres being deployed and created that radically change conventional understandings of “African Cinema.” We also find new grids of filmmaking in which film artists like Bekolo, Sissako, Ramaka, and Teno are working both on and off the continent.

This anthology represents an exciting opportunity to analyze these new developments within the context of the overwhelmingly powerful overdeterminisms of globalization and world cinema studies and to break with the molds that have become rigidified with the received structures of received truths about African studies. We invite contributors to theorize the new, African cinema genres, as well as to analyze African film within the context of changes in the religious landscape and in economic and political configurations that have radically shifted since the 1980s. We seek work on the historiography, cinematography, and technologies that account for the field, and especially welcome approaches that are striking out in new ways, reconfiguring the cinematic critical landscape.

The anthology is scheduled to appear in 2018. Now, we are inviting short proposals of about 500 words. The deadline for receiving the proposals is May 15, 2015.

Selected contributors will be asked to send essays of between 8,000-10,000 words.

Essays might approach African film or media from perspectives shaped by any of the following:

  •       African Postcolonial theorizing, in an age of the global
  •       Adaptation or translation studies
  •       Theories of posthegemony
  •       Biopower and biopolitics
  •       Industry studies
  •       Film Festival studies
  •       Affect theory
  •       New Media studies
  •       Ecocriticsm
  •       Queer theory
  •       Urban studies

Other approaches might examine

  •       the materiality of African cinema
  •       the formation of early African cinema, excavating colonial or early cinematic endeavors, utilizing archives being recuperated in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa, etc.
  •       the transnational dimensions of African cinematic practices

The above is only a list of possibilities; we look forward to receiving papers that ask new questions or suggest exciting and unexpected ways to read African film and screen media.

If you are interested in contributing to this project, please send a 500 word proposal to Ken Harrow ( and Carmela Garritano ( by May 15, 2015.

We welcome your ideas and questions at any time!

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