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Reciprocal perspectives: jocular anthropology and characterisations of the 'other' in African and European popular arts II 
Matthias Krings (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)
Izuu Nwankwọ (University of Toronto)
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Linguistic and visual (de)colonialisms
Room 1098
Thursday 9 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

There are overabundant discourses on African-European encounters. This panel seeks contributions that privilege interrogation of humorously framed representations of the mutual 'other' in cultural productions from historical, postcolonial/decolonial, and postmodern perspectives.

Long Abstract:

Contacts between Africa and Europe have been shaped historically by explorations, slave trade, colonialism, and migration. Increased globalisation and internet penetration in Africa also means that African-European cultural exchanges are continuous, altering, and persistent. From a decolonial perspective, Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1986) talks about 'imperialist' and 'resistant' traditions confronting each other over cultural dominance in Africa, privileging a triumph of the latter. Within postcolonial studies, Homi Bhabha (2004) discusses mimicry, hybridity, and how intercultural exchanges mean that intersecting cultures mutate in varying measures. Amidst all these discourses, the continued intercultural exchanges between Africa and Europe generate overabundant lessons in politics and popular culture, with each side enacting its variant(s) of the representation(s) of the 'other' within.

In this panel, we are looking at these representations from the perspective of humour. Joke telling and other comedic enactments are beginning to be taken seriously in academic studies for the insight they provide in ways individuals produce and consume humour. Koziski (1984) refers to stand-up comedians as anthropologists and 'intentional culture critics', underpinning the idea of jocular anthropology, which situates joke-telling at the nexus of decolonisation efforts in African-European transcultural exchanges. The panel seeks contributions that examine humorously framed critical reflections on African-European encounters in popular performing arts, such as stand-up comedy, film, theatre, music, and dance - from Africa or Europe. While we may not be able to adduce the plethora of reasons for these contacts, this panel seeks to engender discussions on transcultural relations from the perspective of humour.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -