SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

The Humor Principle in Modern African Literature and Cinema

Maik Nwosu (University of Denver)

Date: 8 June 2015Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 8 June 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Seminar

Focusing on modern African literature and contemporary African cinema, particularly the direct-to video Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood, "The Humor Principle in Modern African Literature and Cinema" examines the often-neglected aesthetics of the African comic imagination. In modern African literature, which sometimes creatively traces a path back to African folklore, and in Nollywood – with its aesthetic relationship to Onitsha Market Literature – the pertinent styles range from comic simplicitas to comic magnitude. The poetics at work is substantially carnivalesque – a comic preference or tendency that is attributable, in different contexts, to a purposeful comic sensibility or an un/structured but ingrained or virtual comic mode. In the best instances of this comic vision, the characteristic laughter or lightness can facilitate a reappraisal of the world – either because of the aesthetic structure of signification or the consequent chain of signification. This referentiality or progressive signification is an important aspect of the poetics of laughter as the African comic imagination variously reflects across genres both the festival character of comedy and its pedagogical value.

Chair: Louisa Uchum Egbunike (SOAS)
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Organiser: Centre of African Studies, University of London

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