Anth20
Pan African identities in regards to aesthetic phenomena

Convenors:
Aurore Vermylen (UCL)
Basile Koechlin (Royal Museum for Central Africa)
Adam Rodgers Johns (SOAS, University of London)
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 2
Friday 14 June, 8:45-10:30
Friday 14 June, 10:45-12:30

Short abstract:

This panel suggests to focus on notions expressing a "being African" to analyse the impact of aesthetic phenomena (music, fashion, photography, theatre, football) in their ongoing continuities and ruptures, connections and disruptions, whether cultural, political, economic, religious, or else.

Long abstract:

Different kinds of global politics and social movements have impacted African realities. As a general statement, one can stress the neocolonial and neoliberal tendency to extract natural and cultural material from Africa and aim them at outside markets. At the same time, used and outmoded products are taken back to Africa, transforming the continent into the biggest second hand market (Mbembe, 2017). However, the growing awareness of the (neo)colonial impact on the relationships between African societies, African diasporas and the rest of the world (as put forward in postcolonial theory) has affected the symbolic imaginaries and multilayered identities of the actors taking part in these exchanges. Balancing the local-global dynamics, this panel suggests to focus on notions expressing a "being African" such as Pan African identity (Bridet et. al., 2018), Afrotopia (Sarr, 2016) or 'Blackness' ("How do these African utterances of a transnational blackness dialogue with other conceptions of the place of Africa in global processes?" In Politique Africaine, 2015) in order to analyse the impact of aesthetic phenomena on their ongoing continuities and ruptures, connections and disruptions, whether cultural, political, economic, religious, or else. An emphasis is placed on aesthetic phenomenon in order to better understand how these connections and disruptions manifest themselves in people's lives. The discussants could, for instance, analyse how these notions surface in music, fashion, photography, theatre, or even football, and how they define and are defined by these expressions.