Sembene in Senegal: radical art in neo-colonial society

Ní Chréacháin, Fírinne (1998). Sembene in Senegal: radical art in neo-colonial society. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study asks whether it is possible to produce revolutionary art – in this instance cinema - in the neo-colonial context. It defines revolutionary art in terms of its ability to expose the exploitative structures of neo-colonialism in a language accessible to the masses, and to inspire the exploited to fight back. It takes as a case study the films of Ousmane Sembene produced during the first two decades of neo-colonialism in Senegal. The study first examines Senegal and Sembene prior to 1960, confirming that France's continuing grip on Senegal is the result of a high level of hegemonic control. Sembene emerges as a complex product of the contradictions of French colonialism in its specific Senegalese form. The production of the films is looked at as concretely as possible, taking into account the ideological conditioning of Sembene himself, the contradictions of the medium and mode of production, the direct and indirect interventions of the state, and the ideological and cultural obstacles to communication between the artist and the masses. The study concludes that it is possible to see Sembene's work as stretching to the maximum the margin of manoeuvre provided by the contradictions of neo-colonialism in Senegal, or as an example of the power of hegemonic forces to incorporate even the most radical artist such a society can produce.

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Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: Centre for West African Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures


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