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The Humor Principle in Modern African Literature and Cinema

June 8, 2015 @ 5:15 PM - 7:00 PM


Speaker: Maik Nwosu (University of Denver)
Chair: Louisa Uchum Egbunike (SOAS)

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.

The conference will take place at room  4429, Russel Square campus, SOAS.

All welcome, rsvp to cas@soas.ac.uk


SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG United Kingdom
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