“WHAT’S CULTURE GOT TO DO WITH IT?”
Conference 15-18 June 2009
The main aim of the conference is to discuss what role the study of culture – here creative cultural expressions – plays and could play in understanding change in contemporary Africa. The title of the conference should read as: What’s culture got to do with African studies, which in the North almost invariably has been synonymous with social sciences and a utilitarian view on how to contribute to the solution of development problems. There will also be room for discussion on how to continue and strengthen the Nordic-African network created by the Cultural Images programme. We invite both reflection papers and essayistic overviews and academic research results. Papers should not be previously published. The best papers will be edited in collaboration with their authors to form an anthology to be presented for publishing through the Nordic Africa institute. Both researchers and artists are invited.
Ways in which cultural expressions intersect with political and socio-economic issues; ways in which the arts offer another language and vision than the political language and media; the links between cultural expressions, audiences or readership, and activism; the concept, and role of popular culture; modes of ‘reading’ culture; art as aesthetics and as ‘informer’; ways in which arts in Africa as ‘witness’ has been understood or construed; what happens in translation and export, cultural exchange or distortion? These are offered as possibilities, more takes are possible.
This conference concludes the long-lived “Cultural Images in and of Africa” programme at the Nordic Africa Institute, started 1995. It has built up a large network of scholars and cultural workers in the Nordic countries, Africa and the African diaspora. These activities have been led by Mai Palmberg, whose work at the Nordic Africa institute will end January 2010. The activities and research have spanned the genres of music, film, literature, dance, pictorial arts, and theatre, and the images of Africa in the North.